Police get £50m for PDAs

The government has allocated £50 million to the police to spend on PDAs.

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The government has allocated £50 million to the police to spend on PDAs.

The news follows home secretary Jacqui Smith’s promise in December to provide the funding. Since then, pilot schemes have taken place in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Merseyside.

Some 10,000 mobile devices will be handed out to 27 police forces, out of a total of 53 in the UK. The go-live date will be between September this year and March 2009.

The computers would allow officers on the beat to take fingerprints, view a national database of criminals' mug shots, and transmit the data back to the central database.

Tony McNulty, policing minister at the Home Office, said the move would save officers time. He added: “It is just one element of a range of improvements we are delivering to cut unnecessary bureaucracy, exploit new technologies and enable police officers to spend more time on front line policing.”

The 27 forces to receive funding are the Nottinghamshire Police, Leicestershire Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police, Derbyshire Police and Northamptonshire Police, Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, all eight Scottish forces, British Transport Police, Staffordshire Police, Cheshire Constabulary, Essex Police, Lancashire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Police, Thames Valley Police, North Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police, Humberside Police, Kent Police and the Metropolitan Police.

They were awarded the funding after demonstrating how they would manage staff training, the rollout and procurement. But chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said in his Review of Policing in February that it was important a single IT supplier was used in order to make systems and data better integrated.

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