Police in Bedfordshire, UK, have recently completed a project to outfit 1,100 frontline officers with BlackBerry smartphones.
By rolling out the BlackBerry solution, officers are able to increase visibility in the community and improve operational efficiency. With a BlackBerry, a frontline officer can now access operation critical applications and systems. While on patrol, the BlackBerry empowered officer as remote access to the Police National Computer (PNC), the forces crime management system, intelligence database, warrants, Police National Legal Database and its custom-built briefings application.
It is estimated that a BlackBerry saves each officer half an hour to an hour each day. This means big savings during an economic time when the UK has admitted it will have to make tremendous cuts in public spending, which will inevitably affect the police budget.
The Bedfordshire police Inspector Jim Hitch says: “I liken this to the change from Police boxes to Police radio. That was a huge step and quite expensive and had its doubters who asked why we needed radios. What we’re moving to now with these devices is a similar sort of scenario. There are people doubting and asking why we need them but I think that will become clearer and we will depend on these devices more and more and wonder how we ever did without them.”