Police forces harness mobile technology

Officers from Surrey and Sussex Police Forces are now using specialist mobile technology to improve frontline policing and reporting.

The new joint project delivered by Airwave Solutions, in partnership with O2, enables 1,250 officers at Surrey Police and 1,750 at Sussex Police to replace paper-based activities such as vehicle registration checks, speeding tickets, and tests for the influence of drugs or alcohol on drivers with intuitive digital forms on mobile devices.

Both forces have seen substantial time and cost saving benefits. Officers have saved up to two hours per shift, time that can now be better spent policing the streets and supporting the public. This modernisation of processes has enabled Surrey Police to cut costs by £7m.

The new extended regional deployment follows a successful six year partnership with Surrey Police that has seen the Pronto e-notebook and suite of software applications deployed to frontline offers across both police forces. Pronto is a complete digital replacement for an officer’s paper notebook, operational processes and forms. It provides remote, mobile access to all key policing systems, ensuring officers can capture, reuse and validate information on the frontline while reducing back office bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Before Pronto, a single activity such as writing out a ticket would take back-office staff over four minutes to transfer paper-based notes onto a force’s system – now that process takes seconds as all data captured on devices is synchronised automatically.

As well as productivity benefits, Pronto is enabling greater sharing of information and collaboration between the two forces. Officers can access national police systems and local databases across the two forces, such as the Records Management Systems (Niche) on the move. This allows officers to work together at an incident or crime scene, sharing data and resources in real-time rather than having to return to the station or have back-office staff locate and then upload relevant information.

Discussing the project Gavin Stephens, Deputy Chief Constable at Surrey Police said: “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.”

“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. 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,” said Inspector Shane Baker at Sussex Police.

Other benefits both forces now receive include increased server capacity, improved disaster recovery, around-the-clock monitoring of key systems, and common reporting standards. A direct link between Pronto and the two forces’ records management systems will drive frontline productivity keeping officers on the streets.

Related reading