BlackBerry helps West Yorkshire Police Outwit Wanted Suspects

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BlackBerry devices are helping police officers at West Yorkshire Police to outwit wanted suspects who try to bluff their way out of being arrested when stopped on the streets. But now officers issued with BlackBerry handheld devices can instantly download digital “mugshots” of people who are already on police systems to see that the person is not who they say they are. If there is an outstanding warrant for the person it will show on the screen and the officer can access the warrant system. The use of this technology has already led to several arrests.

This latest enhancement to the Force’s use of BlackBerrys is due to the development of a new system dubbed “StreetWYSE”. Created by West Yorkshire Police’s IT Department, StreetWYSE is a mobile version of the Force’s main computerised intelligence system known as West Yorkshire Search Engine (WYSE).

Besides being able to access images, StreetWYSE on BlackBerry gives officers the ability to discreetly and silently use the device – instead of their radio - to check other vital information on an individual they have stopped, such as whether they are known to carry weapons or be violent to police officers.

West Yorkshire Police currently has 2,500 BlackBerrys in operation – 2,300 of those with frontline officers.

The introduction of the devices has saved the Force an estimated £8.8 million, based on the time saved by officers being able to access computer systems while on the streets – an average of 145 hours per frontline officer per year.

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