Cumbria Constabulary is set to hand out a 4G Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablets to all of its 1,130 frontline police officers.
The devices will digitise “the most common policing processes”, allowing officers to fill in documents while out on the beat rather than needing to return to a station, according to Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson.
They replace traditional pocket notebooks and include specialised policing apps and services pre-loaded by service provider EE. “Some of these are standalone processes, whilst others over time will integrate with different systems,” the force said.
The constabulary piloted the devices with 50 officers and staff in March before starting to hand them out across the force in April.
The force is investing £1.8 million into mobile working over the next three years, which it hopes will save £3.3 million but also “provide a better policing service” to local people, it said in a statement.
The money was provided by the Police & Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes and a grant from the Home Office Innovation Fund.
It will be “one of the biggest technological advancements” in Cumbria Constabulary’s history, the force said.
As the constabulary polices one of the biggest geographical areas in England and Wales, call and data coverage and communication quality were vital factors in deciding to go with EE for the contract, Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson explained.
The EE contract bundles data usage into one “value for money” monthly payment rather than separating it by individual device, he said.
“As a result of this project, there will be an increase in the amount of time officers are able to spend in the community, keeping people safe and dealing with crime,” Johnson said.
“This advancement in technology is an exciting one for the force and one which will have a positive effect on the service we offer to our communities,” he added.