SOA to keep Wiltshire Police on the beat

Wiltshire Police is helping its officers spend more time on the beat and at crime scenes by giving them remote access to its information systems.

Wiltshire Police is helping its officers spend more time on the beat and at crime scenes by giving them remote access to its information systems.

The force is redesigning the systems so its crime-fighters can use a £2m service oriented architecture (SOA) as an interface to a dozen applications. Matt Bennion-Pedley, Wiltshire's financial director, said that this would allow the force to make its data mobile.

The system is being developed by India-based HCL Technologies. It will provide police officers with remote access to administrative and investigative tools such as intelligence systems, the Police National Database, vehicle and criminal records, and photographic files.

Remote access to the police DNA and fingerprint databases may come later, along with the ability to scan and compare fingerprints on the street.

It will also enable the force to send messages and alerts to officers in the field, and have more information to hand when they respond to incidents.

Bennion-Pedley said the force had found that the time spent by police officers travelling between crime scenes and the station to look up information or report progress cost the force 6.5% of its £100m budget.

"If we can save just a couple of percent, we'll have paid for the system," he said.

Police officers will be able to use laptops, personal digital assistants and web-enabled mobile phones to access intelligence and report progress via GPRS and/or the emergency services' Airwave network.

"The idea is to develop a history of an incident as if it were a [multimedia] storybook," Bennion-Pedley said. "Most police officers joined up to fight crime, not do paperwork, so they have welcomed the system."

The SOA design provided security, continuity and resilience against technology changes, Bennion-Pedley said. It insulates the applications themselves, making it easier to develop interfaces for new terminals and applications.

Police IT systems must interact better >>

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