Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove has announced an award from the Government to help improve the visibility of police officers and PCSOs.
The Home Office have confirmed that £1m from the Policing Innovation Fund has been awarded jointly to Humberside and South Yorkshire police forces to collaborate in developing Mobile Technology, including Tablet devices and lightweight laptops to free up more time for police officers and PCSO’s from admin duties so they can spend more time on the beat protecting communities.
The Innovation Fund was announced by the Government last November and applicants were invited to put forward ideas for improving policing. The bid for a share of the £20 million fund was made on behalf of the two forces in line with the qualifying criteria which required applications to “demonstrate innovation, an opportunity for collaboration and commitment to supporting improved digital working.”
The joint bid featured the findings of a pilot study in which mobile technology was tested to increase the visibility of police officers and PCSO’s on patrol in their communities. During the pilot, officers were provided with Tablet devices and laptops enabling them to work within their communities without the need to return to the police station. Early feedback showed this allowed them to complete paperwork in a variety of locations, including the homes of victims of crime, speeding up and improving the service.
Mr Grove said: “I am delighted this joint award has been made, which will help us to push forward with our plans to free up our officers and get them out on patrol. Whilst we can’t totally free them from administrative tasks, this technology makes it easier and quicker for them.
“I am constantly told by the public they want to see police officers and PCSO’s out on patrol in their communities, not hidden away in police stations, but at present our officers are constantly pulled back into buildings to complete paperwork and respond to emails.
“This award will allow us to move forward with our plans to open more police access points in shared buildings across the force area so officers can be more widely distributed in more communities, not just concentrated in a few large police stations as they are at present.
“The trials showed officers were able to spend up to two hours extra per shift on patrol when they had mobile technology available to them. Multiply this across the force and it will lead to a significant increase in our police presence and allow a better service to residents.”
Humberside Police Assistant Chief Constable Alan Leaver said: “Providing mobile technology to officers and staff when and where they need it allows them to be out and about in our communities which is where the public wants to see them.
“Not only will it offer the opportunity for greater visibility but it will enable officers to work more efficiently and effectively, delivering an improved service to the public.”