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BlackBerry ...the latest weapon in the war on crime

By Adrian Rutherford

The PSNI will hand out more than 4,000 BlackBerry mobile phones to officers as the latest weapon in its fight against crime.

The popular hand-held portable device — which can send and receive emails on the move — will be handed out to PSNI officers over the next 12 months.

They will be given to officers in road policing and response units in a bid to cut down on the time they spend in stations doing paperwork and data filing.

One of the main benefits of the device is that it will allow officers to have direct access to the police network wherever they are on duty.

Chief Superintendent Michael Skuce said he hoped officers could spend more time on frontline policing duties. “No one wants to see officers spending additional hours in stations completing forms, this detracts from their visibility in communities,” he said.

“The introduction of BlackBerry devices to constables in response and road policing will reduce operational officer administration in police stations and in the process enhance efficiency.”

Officers will be able to use a BlackBerry to make calls and access emails and internet, which police say will increase their accessibility and time on the beat.

Details of how much the PSNI is spending on the BlackBerries has not been released.

However, DUP Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said it was a positive move which would ultimately save money.

“This makes good, common sense,” he said.

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