Bespoke technology makes stop and search and witnesses statement processes more efficient.
Specialist software developed by a force to bolster operational policing has helped to keep more officers on the front line, the project lead has said.
Sussex Police has developed around 20 apps ranging from stop and search software to digital witness statements for 50 Blackberry PlayBook tablets as part of a pilot to harness the benefits of technology in operational policing.
The software enables officers to carry out tasks that would traditionally require the completion of paperwork while they are out on patrol to maximise their time in the community.
The stop and search app, which was developed by the force in July, allows officers to bring up information about when and where a person has been stopped and searched before rather than having it relayed via Airwave.
Project lead Ch Insp John Asser said the software had the potential to evolve further – the information could be plotted on a map to help officers visualise the data.
In an interview with PoliceOracle.com he added: “This allows officers to do things faster and more efficiently and ultimately improves the quality of service we offer.
“It is a really exciting project – there is potential to develop this technology further. There are huge benefits in terms of cost savings and efficiencies.”
Officers who have been involved in the pilot initiative in Lewes can also produce digital witness statements, which can be signed electronically and securely emailed – cutting out the need to return to the station and deal with paperwork.
Meanwhile the command and control software allows officers equipped with the tablets to research locations and view previous incidents in their area of operations.
The initiative is now being implemented elsewhere within the force, with the introduction of an additional 50 tablets.
Ch Insp Asser asserted: “When we were developing the apps we had the design team working in stations so the officers using the software could suggest improvements. We also had online user forums and user groups to evolve the technology even further.
“We wanted to make sure we were embedding the officers into the process as much as possible.”
Explaining the potential for further software developments, Ch Insp Asser added: “We could develop the use of GPS so that as an officer on patrol moves through certain areas they can identify ongoing incidents, such as a car reported missing, a burglary that has just been reported or to check on a victim of crime.”