Poor mobile connectivity to essential data costing the police dear

Despite spending millions of pounds on smartphones and other devices over recent years a "lack of technology" is costing UK police forces over £220 million a year.

Research from O2 and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) reckons there are "mobile inefficiencies" of up to 193 hours per officer per year due "to a lack of connectivity".

The cost of these inefficiencies comes from police officers not being able to access systems and records they need outside the station.

The research says a frontline officer has to leave encounters on the beat or call outs to incidents 61 times a year, as they don’t have access to the technology they need, or the ability to create reports and access records in real-time.

This is said to waste up to 65 hours per year in potentially uneccessary trips to and from base.

The research has been published as O2 and outsourcer Capita partner to offer police forces a "complete" mobile package, which allows officers to access crucial information from wherever they need to - the same sort of promises previously made when police were equipped with other mobile devices.

As part of the package O2 is exclusively distributing Capita’s SmartWorks app and platform, which provides officers with access to back-office systems, including record management systems and the Police National Computer (PNC).

Billy D’Arcy, managing director of public sector business at O2, said: “Through our Blue Light Managed Mobility Service we’re helping put the right technology in the hands of frontline police and working with Capita to provide access to the tools and information they need. This will allow officers to spend more time in the places that need them most."

The Home Office is currently planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a new communications network for the emergency services, to replace the existing Airwave network, which current police smartphones are connected to.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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