It was only a matter of time, but the long arm of the British law has finally reached out to embrace the BlackBerry. 500 front line police officers in Bedfordshire, England have already been issued with BlackBerry devices to enable them to spend more time tackling crime and less time being chained to the desk at the police station. Another 500 are due to be equipped by early next year.
The BlackBerry handsets give the British Bobbies direct access to all relevant back-end systems such as the Police National Computer and the Police National Legal Database, as well as the forces own custom-built briefings application. This latter system provides the officers with real-time access to information and photographs of wanted or missing people, helping them to quickly and confidently conduct identifications.
Bedfordshire Police is also using BlackBerry smartphones to gain immediate, mobile access to the force's warrants database. This is a completely electronic system that delivers a warrant entered at court directly to the officer on the beat. Accessing these crucial systems remotely has enabled officers to increase their efficiency, as they no longer need to return to the station or radio the control room to access information or log their updates.
Inspector Jim Hitch is the project manager for the Bedfordshire police force, and he told us here at DaniWeb that "Officers no longer need to radio the control room for information or intelligence every time they question someone or see something suspicious."
This marks something of pivotal moment for UK law enforcement which has spent 15 years or so computerising everything but mobilising nothing, meaning that police officers had to return to the station in order to update computers after every incident. We understand that the National Policing Improvement Agency is watching the Bedfordshire development closely, and if successful could signal a national UK-wide roll-out and a nation of crackberry addict Bobbies…