I’m delighted in the last week to see the announcements around mobile policing, a move which is only positive in ensuring more of our officers are visible in communities for more of each day.
Officers from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are now equipped with mobile tablet computers as part of a drive to increase the visibility of police officers and reduce the need for them to return to the office.
Investing in the latest tablet technology will enable our police officers to prevent more crime and catch more criminals. The more we can cut office based activity and free up officers’ time, the fewer crimes will be committed and our streets will be even safer
Following a successful trial, almost 250 TETRATAB devices have been introduced for use by patrol and safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) across both forces. The tablet computers enable officers to access a range of force systems remotely via a secure connection, reducing the need for them to return to the station during their shift.
In the past, officers have sometimes been desk-bound or have spent valuable time returning to the station while they gathered the information required to deal with incidents. With this new technology, officers will be able to remotely perform Police National Computer (PNC) checks, check photographs, access mapping information and receive incident reports.
TETRATABs have been in use by a number of Warwickshire police officers since 2011 and were recently trialled in West Mercia.
They have already demonstrated their value to frontline policing. On one occasion officers searching for a suspect in a baby snatch were able to react immediately having been sent an image of the suspect. On another occasion, following a tip off that a wanted man was in a pub, officers were able to view his image on a mobile device before entering the pub and arresting him quickly and efficiently.
Online maps have been used to identify and coordinate search activity in relation to vulnerable missing people, and officers are able to update systems and submit reports remotely – again removing the need to return the station to complete paperwork.
The new TETRATAB devices are just one of a range of initiatives being introduced by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police as part of a new joint policing model which came into force on 30 September.
Three new mobile police stations have been introduced in West Mercia to join the existing fleet in Warwickshire, and all safer neighbourhood teams have been issued with Blackberry devices to enable them to access and update local social media accounts on the go.
Gareth Morgan, Assistant Chief Constable and Lead for Local Policing, explains: “The overriding aim of our new policing model is to keep officers out of the office and make them more accessible and available to the communities they serve.”
“Given the large geographical areas that we cover, providing mobile data terminals means that our officers can access the information that they need, allowing them to work more effectively and efficiently. These devices will help to keep police officers where the public want them.”