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The bobby goes digital

Government launches pilot digital radio service to assist police officers

The government on Wednesday announced the launch of a £2.5bn national digital radio service for the British bobby.

The Public Safety Radio Communications Project -- to be developed jointly by Motorola and BT (quote: BT) -- is set to revolutionise policing by providing access to back office criminal intelligence to officers on the beat.

"At present, no police force has a digital system," said Home Secretary, Jack Straw. "This lays the foundations for a major change in police communications... giving officers immediate access to photographs, maps and car registrations, and saving valuable time for frontline policing."

The digital system, based on Motorola's TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) radio standard, will allow police officers to access the police national computer, transmit photographs of crime scenes and fingerprints, and connect to the Internet and the telephone network.

A pilot scheme of the service has begun with the Lancashire Police force. The service itself will be rolled out across the country over the next five years.

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