Hand-held computers make police less efficient, say officers

Hand-held computers make police less efficient, say officers
Tuesday 11 Nov 2008 [10:10]

Seventy percent of police officers say that hand-held devices that are designed to cut time spent in the office have actually made them less efficient, according to a survey by the Scottish Police Federation.

Results from the survey also show that 75% feel unsafe using the device because of the need to concentrate on the device during "potentially confrontational situations".

There have also been many software problems, which have led to electronic notes being corrupted, forcing officers to re-enter information.

The personal digital assistance (PDA) was trialed by 349 officers, of which 70% said they were making them less efficient, while 25% said there was no change. Only 10% said they actually made them more efficient with the devices.

£75 million was spent by The Home Office on this scheme. In May, £50 million was allocated, with an extra £25 million in July. The roll out of 30,000 mobile devices will be supported by this funding.

Intended to reduce the amount of time officers spend filling in paperwork at the offices, and increase the amount of time they are out on patrol, the Police use their PDA's and enter information into the system wile out on the street, instead of going back to the office to use a computer.

Not all officers are convinced of the benefits of the PDA's, shows a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Inspector Jim Hitch of Bedfordshire Police, who worked with the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) was one of the men who trialed the devices and reported it had reduced the time police officers spent in the office from 46% to 36% while a visible patrol time rose from 14% to 19% during the trials

Chief constable Ian Johnston, of the British Transport Police, told the committee that while officers did have concerns about using the PDA's, he does expect them to become more comfortable with them over time.

A greater consideration on the end-users' view on what is a workable system design and implementation is needed said The Police Federation.

Despite officers' misgivings, the Committee recommended that funding is made available for all police to have PDA's.

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Mon 18 Jun 2018 04:39:44