BlackBerrys will make life sweeter
Policing teams across the Thames Valley have begun taking delivery of a new gadget which will allow them to spend more time on the streets of their neighbourhood.
1,100 police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) are swapping their mobile phones for handheld computers called BlackBerrys; a technology which will give them access to the police national computer (PNC) system.
And not having to return to their police station base to get hold of information from computers systems will give staff extra time to spend with their communities, making them more efficient.
PCSO Lori Hale, from the Witney neighbourhood team, was involved in the trial of the project and is now thrilled that it is being extended: “We spend up to 80 per cent of our time on the streets engaging with communities so we have very little time to sit at a computer or do paperwork in the office.
“The BlackBerry will fit in well because it will allow me to get photos and other information about vandalism or anti-social behaviour right from the computer while I am patrolling the streets. As a result, I will be able to stay out patrolling for longer,” she said.
PC Marcus Audoin, from Denham neighbourhood policing team said: “There are times when radio communication is difficult, particularly when lines are busy, and the BlackBerry will sort a lot of communication issues”.
Thames Valley Police (TVP) is one of the first forces in the UK to receive a portion of £50m made available by the Association of Police Authorities (APA) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).
The deployment of BlackBerrys in Thames Valley comes after a bid to government, through NPIA, for £792,000; after the Force successfully demonstrated that training for officers on how to use the BlackBerry and a distribution schedule were already in place.
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