New phones helping police be smart

Police in South Yorkshire using their new BlackBerrys
Police in South Yorkshire using their new BlackBerrys
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ABOUT 3,000 police officers, detectives, PCSOs and civilians in South Yorkshire now have BlackBerry smartphones to help them access records when out on patrol, police chiefs have revealed.

Specialist policing ‘apps’ have been developed for the phones to enable officersto tap into records and databases while on the move, allowing them to spend more time on the frontline.

The roll out of the handheld technology has been hailed a success by the county’s force, despite a national audit of the £80 million Government programme to provide all frontline officers with the devices claiming just one in five forces are using them effectively.

Superintendent Jason Harwin, South Yorkshire Police head of business change directorate, said: “The introduction of smartphones has been a success, as it enables officers to access data at the point of need, improving response times, reducing Airwave usage and making better use of public resources.”

Officers are also using the cameras on the devices to photograph evidence on the spot and are emailing each other photos of offenders or missing people when searches need to be widened out.

Police officers are also being trained in how to fill in forms on them.