A revolution in mobile technology takes to the streets of the county today (27 April) and will get police out in their communities and more available to local people than ever before.
Frontline police officers, PCSOs and Specials across Staffordshire will start getting new smartphone and tablet devices to give them the information and tools they need at their finger-tips.
This will keep police on the beat and avoid them having to return to their offices to complete paperwork, submit reports or statements, and access files.
The programme is a step towards Mr Ellis’ commitment to transform policing in Staffordshire to meet the future needs of local people, to deal with emerging 21st century demands on the police and to deliver better value for public money.
Openness, visibility, engagement and efficiency are priority aspirations for the Commissioner, with new technology one of the key drivers.
With the smartphones or tablets officers will be able to perform far more activities away from police buildings through a range of apps on the mobile devices which will be tailored to their role.
The first devices are now being rolled out to officers in East Staffordshire, to be followed by other parts of the county and Stoke-on-Trent between now and February 2016.
Matthew Ellis said: “This is the start of a programme of work that once completed will be the most radical and practical change to frontline policing and the wider criminal justice system in a generation.
“It is pioneering work that puts Staffordshire ahead of the majority of forces in the country, but more importantly we are taking a significant step to delivering the kind of policing local people tell me they want and need.
“At a time when some police forces are abandoning the traditional neighbourhood policing model, our commitment to local, neighbourhood policing in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is stronger than ever. The top priority is to get officers out and about – more visible and more available. (m/f)
“This new technology will help free up an extra 250,000 hours of police time to be out on the beat a year which is the equivalent of an extra 100 officers on duty.
“Staffordshire has some of the best police officers in the country, and I want to be sure they have the right tools for the job.
“Police officers have told me they really want this technology so they can do an even better job in their communities. They are determined to make it work.
“Officers are currently spending too much time entering the same information many times on different computer systems – and we’re going to consign that approach to history. Entering the information once, cutting bureaucracy, saving more time and capturing and using digital evidence on the streets and beyond is where this is heading.
“This is part of wider investment in technology that will dramatically improve Staffordshire Police’s intelligence capability and make it the most efficient, agile and effective police force in the country.
It’s not about how much money is spent, but how well it is spent.
“Criminals are going to be squeezed at the top through better more intelligence-led policing and at the most local level through communities coming together.”
Temporary Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “I can’t stress how significant the mobile data project is for Staffordshire Police. This is only the start, but the ability to free our officers and staff from completing paperwork in police stations means that they can spend more time in our communities keeping people safe and reassured.
“At present seven key police tasks, including mobile witness statements, missing persons and stop and search, have been developed. With a tablet or smart phone and miniature printer, our officers can carry out, securely, the most important tasks wherever they are. And over the next year we’ll be adding significantly to the number of processes we develop, making Staffordshire police the most mobile police force in the country, enabling our officers to spend more time on the beat. It’s an exciting time: for the police, and for the communities we serve.”
Initially, each device will have access to seven key processes such as taking electronic witness statements, stop and search forms, missing people reports and crime scene management. It will also allow officers to share information – such as domestic abuse risk assessments – directly with other agencies at the touch of a button. At least 30 processes are on their way eventually, meaning officers can spend more time doing the job and less on red tape.