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More police officers to get iPads in force techno-boost
POLICE officers in Oxfordshire are set to get new high-tech gadgets, including iPads and smart phones, to help them catch criminals.
Thames Valley Police plans to provide bobbies with access to more information on improved mobile phones to keep them out on the beat.
The force also plans to purchase iPads or tablets for senior officers and has purchased more automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems.
Experts hope the new systems will save money and time as officers will be able to work on the move rather than going back to the office. But last night the force was unable to provide details of the expected total cost involved.
The details were discussed at the Police and Crime Commissioner policy, planning and performance meeting yesterday.
Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said: “Unless they walk around with a lorry full of files, police officers will not have the information a modern officer needs. They need to check up on cars, individuals and legal processes, and need that information at their finger-tips.
“Giving them smart phones will stop them having to go back to police station all the time.
“It is a huge saving and makes everything far, far more efficient and cheaper, and it cuts down on the paperwork enormously.”
He added: “We are moving with the times.”
Mr Stansfeld said he hoped police officers on the beat would be able to access all the information they would be able to at the desk on their smart phones.
Mr Stansfeld said he also hoped senior officers and backroom staff – “all the officers who need them” – will be given iPads or other tablet devices.
TVP has purchased 15 iPads for heads of departments and chief superintendents – costing about £3,900 – to begin piloting the scheme this month. It hopes to roll the scheme out next year.
Asked how many smart phones and tablets could be purchased, Mr Stansfeld said: “We are doing the studies at the moment. From those we will have those answers.”
He said the smart phones and tablets will be paid for out of its existing capital budget.
Every neighbourhood police officer in Oxfordshire was given a BlackBerry phone, costing a total of £637,000, in 2008.
The move allowed officers to access the national police computer, photographs of suspects, emails and briefings from senior officers.
Kieron Mallon, Oxfordshire County Council’s representative on the panel, said: “If this enables police to be more effective, enables commanders to be able to direct the police under their control and, more importantly, allows bobbies to do the data input whilst still out on the beat rather than going back to the police station, this has to be a good thing.”
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