Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, visited Woodseats Police Station on Thursday 22 January to see for himself how new mobile devices will enable police officers to stay out of police stations and in the community for longer. It is estimated that they will increase police visibility by 150,000 hours.

The Commissioner spoke with Temporary Inspector Richard Atherton, who explained how the devices work.

The mobile device project cost £1.6 million in total and includes a toughened laptop, security software, hardware, training and vehicle fitting.  It has been a joint project by South Yorkshire and Humberside Police.

The devices allow police officers and PCSOs to spend longer in visible locations within their communities.  All officers have access to the information and work they need whilst out in the areas they police.

Dr Alan Billings said: “Whilst the Government continues to slice away at the policing grant, we are constantly looking for new innovative ways in policing our communities and to do it in collaboration with other forces – to do more for less..

“With the ever increasing demands on officers and declining resources, these mobile devices allow officers to update police systems whilst working in their neighbourhoods. The 150,000 hours visibility they provide equates to an additional 74 full-time officers policing the streets.”

Funding for the project came from the two forces (£600,000) and a successful bid by South Yorkshire Police in collaboration with Humberside Police to the Home Office Innovation Fund (£1 million).

Temporary Inspector Richard Atherton said: “These mobile devices have received excellent feedback from officers. The use of the devices in police vehicles mean that work can be carried out live in the neighbourhoods and journeys in and out of police stations are no longer necessary.”

South Yorkshire is one of the first Forces to use 4G mobile data, provide live, rapid access to systems and the equipment is believed to have a four year life span.