Airwave, Great Britain’s public safety communications provider, has finalised an agreement with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) to provide mobile information solutions to the UK’s police forces as part of its £50m Home Office-backed mobile information programme.
Airwave are offering the Airwave Acceleration Package as part of the NPIA Mobile Information Acceleration Programme which is expected to transform policing by enabling rapid and widespread use of standardised mobile data technology. The Package enables forces to equip officers with devices which give direct access to the Police National Computer and a host of other databases, as well as electronic pocket notebooks and online forms. This will result in significant cost savings at the same time revolutionising life for front line officers by improving critical ‘on the spot’ decision making, reducing crime and increasing officer safety.
According to Airwave, the Acceleration Package is a ‘golden opportunity’ for forces to act strategically in adopting a standardised mobile data infrastructure, as advocated by Sir Ronnie Flanagan in his recent report. The adoption of widely differing mobile information systems would short-change the public and act against the long-term interests of the police service.
The announcement follows a successful response by Airwave to an Invitation to Tender from the NPIA. The Package is highly flexible, enabling forces to tailor the solution – it combines a choice of networks, devices, applications and support services. The Acceleration Package will help forces implement mobile information solutions with greater speed as it will negate the need for a lengthy procurement process.
Airwave, the UK’s only national digital network dedicated to public safety organisations, is already used by every force for voice communication. Using Airwave for mobile information assures the police of the highest standards of geographical coverage, resilience and security, as well as the potential for interoperability between forces and with other public safety organisations such as the fire and ambulance services. Airwave has demonstrable strength in mobile information solution deployments – Lancashire Constabulary’s Airwave mobile solution, for example, has helped to keep officers on the beat for an additional hour per shift, and the Airwave network has provided a basic PNC access service for more than five years.
Simon Eggleton, Programme Director for Mobile Data at Airwave, commented: “The NPIA’s decision to select Airwave as an approved supplier for mobile information solutions has provided a strong lead for police forces to focus on the efficiencies that can be gained through the exploitation of technology.”
The NPIA sought to agree the Acceleration Package as part of a recent Government allocation of £50m towards the deployment of police mobile information to assist the deployment of more than 10,000 mobile data devices to frontline officers by the end of September 2008.
Lancashire Constabulary has recently been awarded funds to expand its current mobile information service with Airwave. In addition, Lincolnshire Police have been successful in their bid for NPIA funding to rollout Airwave-based mobile information solutions.
Roger Marsden, Client Director for Police Forces at Airwave, commented: “Airwave are determined to help revolutionise life for front line police officers by reducing paperwork and bureaucracy; speeding up and improving the quality of critical ‘on the spot’ decisions; increasing officer safety; combating crime; reducing unnecessary voice radio messages; maximising front-line patrol time and thereby improving public perceptions of the police.”