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UK Police Forces To Get Smartphones

Police Officers across the UK have been given smartphones to encourage them to stay more on the street and spend less time in the police station having to fill endless reams of forms.

From March 2010, many more police forces in the country will adopt RIM's Blackberry smartphones (ed: no iPhone here) according to the National Policing Improvement Agency at a cost of £80 million pounds, or roughly £270 per year per smartphone deployed.

The move comes in a bid to streamline the process of upholding the law by allowing the police officers to spend up to 30 minutes more outside the police station as they will now be able to receive briefings, memos, notes, access database and send back any reports.

It could well be that those smartphones will come with mobile fingerprint scanners as part of Project Midas (Mobile Identification At Scene), a scheme initially announced in October 2008 which aims at slashing the time it takes to identify criminals.

Inspector Jim Hitch of Bedfordshire Police told the BBC News that police officers used to spend on average nearly half of their time in Police buildings rather than out on the street.

This, according to Inspector Hitch, has now fallen to 36 percent (ed: interesting stats, it seems that Coppers in the Bedforshire area work five hours shifts according to that piece of data).

Arguably, there's nothing new with UK Police force getting (and losing) the latest gadgets. Thousands of handheld computers were set to be rolled out across the country at a cost of £1600 per laptop including backend and training.

Our Comments

With 300,000 or more "Police" smartphones out in the wild, it is only a matter of time before some of them are lost, stolen or used inappropriately.

Related Links

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Police forces adopt smartphones (opens in new tab)


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.