British Transport Police has rolled out handheld devices and wearable printers to 400 officers in the face of initial strong opposition to boost its policing of the London Underground by ensuring officers spend less time in the office.
The mobile roll-out, which was completed in October, went smoothly thanks in part to an internal marketing campaign with teaser posters and intranet coverage targeted at possible cynics.
"Police officers do not tend to want to be involved in any cutting-edge IT project from the outset. They think it is not going to work, and it will just be tech junk to carry around," said Andrew Watson, chief information officer at British Transport Police.
"We gave them the opportunity to snipe at it, and also gave enough officers access to the trials. Initially officers hated it. Through time they thought it might be useful. Now, all the forces are screaming for it."
Watson said the mobile system had already enabled officers to speed up the stop-and-search process by taking out up to half an hour of office-based administration.
The system comprises a Microsoft Pocket PC-based O2 XDA II phone/PDA, and a wearable Brother MW140 A7 sheet printer, with an encrypted Bluetooth wireless link between the devices.
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