Police iPad mini-trial aims to keep bobbies on the beat longer

London's police claim that trials have so far cut down the force's paperwork.

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An iPad cuts out the need for Met officers to return to the station every time paperwork needs to be done. Image: Metropolitan Police
London's Metropolitan Police - the police force responsible for the capital - believes that by equipping each front-line officer with an iPad mini, 4G connectivity, and secure device management, it can save each officer an hour of time per shift.

As the Met puts it, that will mean each officer will "spend more time on the beat reducing crime and supporting victims, ultimately keeping London safer".

The trial with Vodafone began last summer and 500 frontline officers are now using the devices. The Met is now looking at extending the trial further.

The Met is using its own specially developed apps running on 4G connections in the trial. Officers can access and update systems and databases from wherever they are, which means they don't have to go to a police station to complete paperwork. The hope is that this will make them even more visible on London's streets.

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Also, and "crucially," said the Met, it means that officers can collect electronic witness statements and digital signatures at the crime scene. The force is also keen to point out that that particular innovation means that the victims of crime no longer need to attend the station at a later date.

Security of data and devices is paramount, the Met said, so Vodafone and the Met worked together to come up with a secure system that also "meets operational requirements".

"We want officers out on the beat, not stuck in the station filling out paperwork or sat at a computer," said Adrian Hutchinson, the Met's superintendent and head of mobility planning.

"We've already had a great response from officers who have used the devices, and we are confident that the project will help them to be more visible to the public and ultimately deliver a better service to Londoners."

Further Reading:

NSW Police trials 'real-time policing' with 500 smartphones

UK cops nab man accused of hacking US DoD to threaten Lizard Squad

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