Digital pens speed CSI for Northern Ireland's police service

Digital pens speed CSI for Northern Ireland's police service

Summary: More than 4,000 police officers and detectives in Northern Ireland are now using Anoto digital pens to take witness statements and record information at crime scene investigations, which saves lots of time getting the data online.

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More than 4,000 police officers and detectives in Northern Ireland are now using Anoto digital pens to take witness statements and record information at crime scene investigations (CSI), with a claimed 80 percent gain in efficiency in back-office processing. The deployment makes the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) one of Europe's largest corporate users of the technology, which was developed in Lund in Sweden more than a decade ago.

PSNI's Colin Shaw said in a statement: "The solution is simple and intuitive for officers to use and during rollout we encountered nothing but positive feedback. The digital pen and paper solution provides supervisors with better visibility of investigations and that will help us to get it right the first time."

When police staff dock their digital pens with the PSNI's secure network, data are automatically uploaded to the service's Niche records management system. This speeds up the process of entering records and making them available.

The system was developed by InphoActive, a Belfast-based Anoto partner specialising in the law enforcement market, and uses DevelopIQ’s digital pen platform. DevelopIQ also supplies digital pen technologies used in the UK’s National Health Service.

InphoActive managing director Mike Greer says: "Data accuracy has been improved due to a good form design and validation process. We are delighted with the time and cost saving results." The company has posted a brief Case Study (PDF).

The PSNI is now thinking about using Anoto's digital pen and paper technology for other applications such as missing persons, road traffic accidents and domestic incidents.

Digital pens are an attractive solution to paper-based organisations since they enable faster working (and, often, fewer typists) without disrupting existing workflows. However, Anoto has just signed a deal with Panasonic, which aims to integrate Anoto pens with the company's tablets and mobile phones.

Livescribe also use's Anoto's dot-based digital paper system in its Echo, Pulse and Sky smartpens. See: Q&A: How Livescribe's Sky adds a smartpen to Evernote.

Topics: Hardware, Government, Mobility, United Kingdom

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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2 comments
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  • Sweet...

    ...they've got that embarrassing bulky, clunky look that you want in a writing instrument.

    These pens make you look like you're signing a visitor's log at Disney.
    shoutout
  • Paper

    Uses a special paper.
    Looked around for the price but could find no Anoto paper.
    Pen seems to be around $130
    MoeFugger