Police go on patrol in Richmondshire with new handheld technology

Officers use the new handheld devices.

Police in Richmondshire are now using new handheld technology, designed to let them spend more time policing the communities they serve.

Officers and PCSOs are using tablets and smartphones equipped with specially-developed software that cuts down on desk time by letting them work from virtually anywhere in the county.

North Yorkshire Police estimates that when fully rolled out, the devices will save the average officer several hours per week through a combination of fewer return visits to the police station and making administrative processes quicker.

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The force says that as a result it is estimated that it could increase officer visibility by around ten per cent.

As part of North Yorkshire Police’s Operational Mobile Working (OMW) project, frontline officers and PCSOs will receive the new devices this year which allow them to:

  • Gather and build evidence at the scene of a crime, including photos, videos and other documents, and upload it to police systems immediately
  • Search a number of police systems without having to return to the police station, giving them more access to data at crime scenes or while out on patrol
  • Compile, submit and share files with colleagues from anywhere, which cuts down on travelling time and desk time
  • View a live map that shows the incidents happening nearby and further afield, and indicates where their colleagues are
  • Complete administrative tasks during “down time” between other jobs, such as while waiting at court or between meetings

Some officers using the new devices have already hit the streets, with hundreds of other frontline officers and PCSOs following suit in the coming months.­­

Harrogate PC Adam Smith was one of the first officers to use the new technology.

He said: “One of the biggest changes is that it saves a lot of time. That means we can be out and about much more and don’t have to keep returning to the station to do things like read a log or fill in paper forms.

“You do this job because you enjoy working with people, so anything that increases the amount of time we can spend with people in our communities is a massive bonus. It’s sure to improve the way we work.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, who has led the project for North Yorkshire Police, said: “People often tell us they like to see police officers and PCSOs out on the beat.

“This technology means officers and PCSOs can spend more time keeping people and communities safe, and less time sitting behind a desk.

“This is great on an individual basis, but when we scale it up across the county, the total amount of time we save as a force is massive.

“This is truly innovative technology. It’s been developed specifically to reflect our needs as an organisation and, even more importantly, the needs of the communities we work in.

“It’s been a huge project and I’m delighted with what we’ve achieved – it will help us deliver an exemplary level of policing right across North Yorkshire.”

The software, called tuServ, has been specially developed by Bradford-based technology company, Black Marble.

It has been tested by North Yorkshire Police over the past year, including around 2,000 signal tests all over the county, technical and security tests, and tests by­­ officers who’ve volunteered to trial it. All the feedback has been used to help develop and refine the technology.

The roll-out is currently happening in phases so users can be fully trained in how to use the new system. Around 430 officer have already received training and the rest are expected to receive it by the end of May.