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Police forces in Surrey and Sussex are using Airwave’s Pronto e-notebook and suite of applications to increase the time their frontline officers spend on active duty, improving visibility and effectiveness and generating millions of pounds worth of efficiency savings.
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The technology, which is being used on the O2 network and is not related to the Airwave terrestrial trunked radio (Tetra) network used by UK police forces for critical communications, has been deployed to 3,000 officers across both forces, 1,250 in Surrey and 1,750 in Sussex.
It replaces and enhances a number of formerly paper-based activities, including vehicle registration checks, speeding tickets, and drug and alcohol testing, using more intuitive digital forms on mobile devices to capture and validate information more quickly, giving officers more time to spend on the streets and supporting the general public.
Prior to implementing Pronto, a single activity such as writing out a ticket could take back-office staff several minutes to transfer paper-based notes into the force’s backend system. This is now down to seconds, said Surrey Police.
“We are seeing the beginnings of a fully digitised criminal justice system – from incident to court room. What’s aspirational in digital policing and collaboration between forces in some parts of the country is reality here,” said Surrey Police deputy chief constable Gavin Stephens.
“The deployment of Pronto has meant we’ve been able to move officers away from desks and back onto the frontline, the best place to pursue offenders and detect crime, protect vulnerable people, and prevent crime and disorder,” said Sussex Police inspector Shane Baker.
“Technology has helped us become more accessible and visible to the public we serve, and it is playing an increasingly vital role in our mission to make the region as safe as it can possibly be,” he said.
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The new deployment is an extension of a previously successful six-year partnership between Airwave and Surrey Police, which was well-used at Surrey’s road policing team, as previously reported by Computer Weekly.
With a wider deployment across the county and down into Sussex as well, Airwave said Pronto would also enable greater sharing of information and collaboration between both forces.
Officers will now be able to access national police systems and local databases, including the records management system, whilst on the move across both forces. This means they can collaborate at a major incident or crime scene that both forces may be required to attend.
Using resources effectively
Billy D’Arcy, Managing Director, Enterprise and Public sector business at O2 UK, said: “As policing budgets continue to be reduced, using resources as effectively as possible is a challenge that every UK police force is being asked to meet.
“We are very glad to have delivered, in conjunction with our partner Airwave, a solution that has helped both Surrey Police and Sussex Police improve efficiencies while increasing their citizen engagement,” he said.
“Surrey Police was one of the first forces to embrace Pronto and over the past six years we’ve worked closely with their officers to evolve the software to make it as useful and usable as possible.”
Phil Jefferson, MSSSI vice-president of sales and service for the UK and Ireland at Airwave parent Motorola Solutions, said: “Today, forces like Surrey Police and Sussex Police are able to collaborate effectively together, and more than a third of UK police forces now reap the rewards of Pronto, driving widespread efficiency savings, something that’s more important than ever in this time of tight budgets and public demand for greater visibility.”