Tuesday, 27 May, 2008

Welcoming the Home Office announcement (Monday, 26 May) of funding for additional Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for police officers, British Transport Police Chief Constable Ian Johnston said:

'BTP has taken a lead in piloting mobile computing and we have shown that it brings real benefits, particularly by increasing the time our officers can spend out on stations and trains.

'Police visibility is a key aim for us and our experience so far has shown an average gain of 51 minutes per officer per shift. That is a tremendous amount of extra police power on the front line. With this new investment, we can begin to roll out mobile computing around Britain, which is really good news for passengers and staff.

'People rightly want to see more visible policing on our transport system. In recent years we have been delivering that by increasing police numbers and deploying Police Community Support Officers for the first time. Mobile computing is a way of working smarter, getting more from our existing resources, and empowering our people to deliver an even better service. It is an important part of policing in the 21st century.'

BTP will receive almost £2m to fund an additional 800 PDAs and printers. That more than doubles the number in use by BTP officers to 1,350.

At the same time as more PDAs come on line, existing equipment is being upgraded to a new model - the O2 XDA Argon.

BTP is in the forefront of using mobile computing and began the roll out on the London Underground 2006. 500 are now in use on the Tube, with a further 50 in use elsewhere. PDAs save police time by reducing the need to return to police stations to input data and for data to be input more than once.

Applications available to officers include checks on people and vehicles via the Police National Computer, access to the voters' register, the Force Intelligence System, the ability to issue Stop and Search forms using handheld printers, crime recording and BTP's command and control system.

The Home Office funded additional PDAs will be given to front line officers, particularly those involved in Neighbourhood Policing Teams and counter terrorism activity. The roll out is due to be completed by the end of September and will involve the following Areas (numbers are for guidance only, actual numbers deployed may vary for operational reasons):

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