Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Police force criticised over gadget

Hampshire Police Authority has been criticised for borrowing 1.5 million pounds to fund a new gadget
Hampshire Police are fitting mobile data terminals into patrol vehicles

A police force has been criticised for borrowing £1.5 million to fund a new gadget giving officers access to their computers while on the move.

Hampshire Police Authority has approved the purchase of 159 mobile data terminals (MDTs) which will be fitted to the force's patrol vehicles.

The devices will allow officers to access applications that run on their desktop computers while away from the station.

But to finance the purchase and the training of 1,000 officers, the police authority will borrow approximately £1.5 million, to be paid back over a five-year period.

A Taxpayers' Alliance spokeswoman said: "Whilst we want to see police adapting to better working practices that will get them out of the office and back on the streets, it is worrying that the police are borrowing money for this scheme.

"Taxpayers will worry that they are still spending more than they can afford."

A spokesman for Hampshire Police Authority said that they expected to see benefits worth up to £2.1 million per year gained by extra time spent by officers on patrol.

He added it would enable officers to reduce unnecessary journeys to police stations to complete administrative tasks.

It would also enable officers to gain information on the spot more efficiently and reduce the need for witnesses to attend police stations to give statements.

Councillor Adrian Collett, vice-chair of Hampshire Police Authority, said: "We are very pleased to enable officers to be more visible to our local communities by undertaking work out in the field that would previously have had to be carried out at a station."

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