Police Forces across the country will be receiving up to £30 million to purchase thousands of handheld computers which will hopefully allow officers to spend more time on streets and less at their desk.
The initiative will cost around £1600 per laptop (including backend and training) and rolled out across 25 forces nationwide, with a total of 30,000 handheld computers to be delivered.
It is predicted that the scheme will save on-duty officers up to 30 minutes for each shift, allowing them to exchange data with their headquarters while on the beat.
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Cole of the Hampshire Constabulary said: “We welcome this funding for handheld computers. These computers are valuable tool for a modern police officer," adding, "Patrolling officers with access to databases, such as the Police National Computer, command and control and intelligence systems, will spend less time returning to the station and more time on the frontline, increasing visibility and reassuring the public."
Of particular concern though will be the fact that public bodies, including the police force, have been hit by a number of data losses linked to laptops in the past years. And having thousands of laptops on the street or in cars means an even higher risk losing a few of them every month.
Some have also criticised the move saying that it would be better to spend the money to train and put more policemen on the streets of Britain. The programme managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency will be completed by March 2010.
Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links
Technology (or money) is not a panacea. The NHS is learning it quite painfully with their controversial IT system which has already attracted strong criticisms. Likewise, even if the attempt to reduce red tape is laudable, it might not necessarily be the best thing for the force, bearing in mind that the funding stops in March 2010.
Police to log in to fight crime
(Portsmouth, The News)
(The West Morland Gazette)
(South Yorkshire Police)
(The Bolton News)
(This is Hampshire)
(West Sussex County Times)