GWENT POLICE are to ditch traditional notepads in favour of mobile devices.

To get more officers out of stations and maximise the time they spend in the community, Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston supported a bid and secured nearly £1.5 million from the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund over two years so that the force in collaboration with South Wales Police, could develop a new specialist policing ‘app’ and associated technology which can be used on smart phone and tablet devices.

Officially rolled out today, this is the UK’s first collaborative Police mobile data platform and ‘app’ and the technology has been developed, trialled and tested over the last year to ensure it meets all police officer requirements.

The two key features designed to enhance the efficiency of Gwent Police and South Wales Police officers is the Electronic Pocket Notebook and the I-Patrol mobile ‘app’ which enables officers at crime scenes to immediately capture audio and visual accounts from victims, witnesses and offenders and to upload these files and information obtained directly into a shared computer system without the need to return to stations.

Through their new devices, officers can also access intelligence when attending incidents, enabling them to be better prepared and informed before they arrive at the call. This reduces the risk to officers and provides a better service to repeat and vulnerable victims. The devices can even send through ‘push notification’ messages with vital information to officers on route to an incident.

The quality of information and evidence obtained at crime scenes is also enhanced and officers can electronically sketch details from a road traffic collision incident for example and upload the sketch or photo directly to the system as part of the evidence.

The technology also allows Forces to share cross-border data quickly and have rapid access to key information which saves both time and money. And in addition to the roll out of the new handheld devices, both forces have also upgraded their current command and control and record management systems.

Mr Johnston, said: “The whole purpose of this project is to get more officers out of stations and back on the street. Officers using these devices now have access to a wealth of information in the palm of their hands. This will help improve efficiency and allow them to record and present evidence in a far more professional and transparent manner. This will no doubt save countless hours of policing time which would usually have been spent behind desks on administration, thus maximising value for money for the taxpayer.”

Mr Johnston added: “The collaborative approach involved with this project will help deliver benefits to both police forces and will help create new and effective ways of working. I would like to congratulate everyone who brought their ideas to the table and for making this exciting project a reality.”

Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable, Julian Williams, said: “This technology will revolutionise policing, bringing it firmly into the 21st century. Key information will be available to officers whether they are out on patrol or at the scene of a crime. This will undoubtedly allow them to carry out their duties more efficiently and effectively."