Mobile police technology put to the test

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Mobile technology which will modernise the work of police officers has been put to the test by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel.

The panel, which scrutinises the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, was presented with a report on new technology being trialled by Sussex Police.

Hand-held devices will enable officers to access and update policing systems, take witness statements and collect and store evidence.

While the panel welcomed the introduction and testing of the new technology, concerns about security and connectivity were raised with members highlighting areas of Sussex where mobile signals are poor.

Mrs Bourne gave the panel assurances the issue of connectivity was written into Sussex Police’s contract with O2 and would be addressed as and when identified. She also reported that the devices had the ability to hold the information and transmit it when officers moved to an area with a better signal.

Speaking after last Friday’s panel meeting councillor Brad Watson, panel chairman, said: “Members certainly saw the value in bringing policing in Sussex into the 21st century with this new technology, but had a number of concerns about security and the protection of sensitive information. “We feel confident that the issues we raised had either been addressed or would be taken forward by the Commissioner on our behalf and we look forward to seeing the results of the testing.”

Concerns raised at previous panel meetings about the performance of Sussex Police when answering 101 calls were addressed in a verbal report which showed the force had made significant improvement. In 2013/14 only 57 per cent of 101 calls were answered within 60 seconds with an average waiting time of three minutes and 15 seconds. Newly released figures for 2014/15 show an improvement to 60.13 per cent answered within 60 seconds and an average waiting time of two minutes and three seconds.