New handheld devices are to be rolled out to police officers across North Yorkshire, offering a new link between crime scenes and courts
North Yorkshire Police are to introduce tablets and smart-phones equipped with specialised software later this year, enabling officers to work remotely anywhere in the county.
It is believed the introduction of devices with the ‘tuServ’ software, which link officers to local and national police databases, will mean less time behind a desk for officers.
Harrogate PC, Adam Smith, one of more than 400 officers initially trained to use the devices, says they could also help ‘provide results’ for victims of crime in court.
PC Adam Smith said: “It allows me and my colleagues to be a lot more proactive, we have high quality data at our finger tips that we can go out and use practically to stop the drug dealer, the thief and human trafficker. “
He added: “What it can offer is almost a digital corridor straight to courts, visual evidence which says a thousand words could be played out in front of Mr and Mrs public sat on a jury who might not know anything about the justice system.
“It could ultimately provide the result the victim wants. It is using technology in the best possible way within policing in 2018.”
“I really can’t really implore enough how much of a difference it will have to me and the justice system that we in North Yorkshire serve.”
Evidence, including photos, videos and other documents, can be uploaded to police systems immediately by officers at an incident.
While cutting the time spent travelling to and from stations the system is expected to boost the speed of investigations - as information can be compiled quickly after being collected at the scene.
Superintendent, Mike Walker, who has led the project with North Yorkshire Police, said: “If we are handling say a suspicious death it would sometimes take 24 hours, but we can correlate information quickly with the system.
“Officers will be able to see pictures of the scene, the internal and external cordon, statements of people who were there first, or the notepads of officers who attended the scene. Not only does it get information together quicker it gets teams working together.”
In certain cases, such as those involving domestic violence, it has been suggested that police would be able to rely more on pictures being entered into court as evidence than previously possible.
Officer Neil Soulby said: “With victims of say domestic violence an officer might see that they have a red hand print left on their skin, these can go very quickly. With this equipment they would be able to take a picture. Instead of recording it just as a description that could be taken to court as well.”
A live map of the area will be available for officers through the devices, allowing them to see ongoing incidents nearby. At the same time it would also let them know the location of other officers.
This alongside the access to shared information is believed to offer a boost for safety for officers. Individuals can be flagged as potentially dangerous, this can be shared and alert other officers.