In a groundbreaking development, Lancashire Constabulary will become the first UK police force to deploy a multi-bearer force-wide mobile data solution involving up to 3500 users
Police officers throughout the whole of Lancashire will soon be using high tech mobile computers that will enable them to spend less time in the station, and more time out on the streets. This is part of a strategic investment by Lancashire Constabulary designed to reduce unnecessary paperwork, reinforce their nationally recognised levels of quality and performance and provide the public with more visibility of patrolling officers.
O2 Airwave, the company behind the country’s largest public safety digital communications network, has secured a contract to provide a managed force-wide strategic mobile data solution based around the Airwave Mobile Applications Gateway (MAG) Service and the national secure Airwave TETRA digital communications network.
The contract runs over 10 years and follows a successful pilot that saw O2 Airwave working closely with Lancashire Constabulary for almost 4 years to develop the mobile data solution.
The solution provides the Lancashire force with a wide range of device and technology options. This ensures that officers can always be equipped with the most appropriate mobile computer for the task at hand and provides the force with total flexibility as it starts to ‘mobilise’ key operational processes such as their new Crime Recording and replacement Command & Control systems.
Device options over the Airwave TETRA network range include fixed ‘in-vehicle’ mobile data terminals (MDT’s) and highly portable TETRA enabled PDA’s (personal digital assistants).
For use over the O2 GPRS network, Lancashire Constabulary has selected the O2 XDA range of PDA’s, which are connected by secure VPN link to the O2 Airwave MAG Service. The MAG Service is fully future proofed, being able to connect with other ‘multi bearer’ network services such as 3G and Wi-fi.
At the heart of the Airwave data solution is the Mobile Applications Gateway (MAG) Service. The MAG Service has been developed specifically with the needs of public safety users in mind. Hosted inside the Airwave secure environment, the MAG Service connects to a variety of wireless networks and devices. It allows the customer to manage large numbers of users on the system including security of access, authentication and password management. Built on ‘carrier grade’ industry standard hardware and software the MAG is designed to be highly resilient and is designed to support over 100,000 users nationally.
The main users of the Airwave data service will be front line operational officers. This will enable them to:
- Send and receive colour images of wanted, suspect and missing persons
- Check local intelligence databases against suspect persons or vehicles, and reports of missing persons
- Undertake searches on the Police National Computer to check for wanted and missing persons as well as stolen, un-insured and un-taxed vehicles and driver licence details
- Enter a wide range of reports direct to their portable computer and then transmit these directly back into force systems without having to return back to base
- Receive accurate details of incidents and emergencies direct from control room operators and then enter reports of completed incidents directly from the scene - thereby reducing potential for inaccuracy and minimising unnecessary radio messages
- Have instant access to search other force information sources such as voters registers and Sat Nav mapping, enabling them to make better ‘on the spot’ decisions
- Receive remote briefings on community concerns and issues, active criminals and other general information – then be able to action and update these without having to return to the station
- Manage emails and take calls from members of the public and colleagues, together with contacts and diary appointments whilst away from the station
The benefits will assist in helping to cut down the time officers spend in police stations by at least 1 hour per day per officer as well as reducing unnecessary paperwork, reducing unnecessary radio messages and relieving pressure on over-stretched police control rooms. By minimizing the need for patrolling officers to return to their stations it will give them more time in their local communities patrolling their beats.
Stuart Fillingham, Head of ICT for the force, said: “O2 Airwave has been working with our own development teams and operational officers for almost 4 years now to develop this solution. Breaking new ground such as this is never without challenges both for the customer and the supplier. Airwave’s determination to deliver, together with their strong understanding of the police customer has helped us to reach this milestone development together.
“There were several reasons behind our decision to award such a strategic long-term contract to O2 Airwave. A big factor was their ability to understand our special requirements and build the solution around these requirements. Our confidence in the product developed with O2 Airwave is reflected in the 10 year duration of this contract. Over the next couple of years we will be developing new mobile versions of our key police systems such as crime recording and command and control. This will involve significant investments in internal resources and we therefore required a future-proofed, long-term mobile data platform that will support these developments well into the next decade. The 10 year O2 Airwave MAG solution provides us with this re-assurance.”
Roger Marsden, Mobile Data Programme Director for O2 Airwave has been working on the mobile data solution since its inception. He said: “We have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing and building a resilient and flexible mobile data solution that is able to support such a wide ranging and large-scale complex roll-out. The police are under immense pressure to increase officer visibility and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. By choosing the O2 Airwave mobile data solution, Lancashire Constabulary will now be able to fully exploit the Airwave MAG Service and other O2 products to address these areas.”
Notes to editor
The Airwave service is a sophisticated communications system for the emergency and other public safety ('blue light') services and is owned and operated by O2 Airwave. It will help make Britain safer by facilitating more effective and efficient ways of working for the emergency services, and the opportunity for more 'joined up' public safety services.
The Mobile Data contract with Lancashire Constabulary includes the provision of technical support in developing new applications and integration services into the Lancashire Police back office and other operational support systems.
Future plans are already in place to utilise the Airwave Mobile Data Solutions Platform (MAG) further to develop strategic new business processes using MAG Service that will include:
- Mobilisation of crime recording systems that will capture crime reports at the scene of the crime and update force systems in real time.
- Enabling Control Room / Communications officers to deploy officers to incidents and emergencies using mobile data access to planned new command & control systems.
- Checking details of crimes against similar records to assist rapid detection whilst still at scene
- Streamline ‘stop and search’ procedures that will speed up input of vital criminal intelligence.
The rollout will commence in February 2007 and will initially include approximately 1500 users right across Lancashire. Over the next 2 years, additional specialist users will be brought on to the system leading to an eventual user base of up to 3500 users.
The Airwave MAG Service
The MAG Service is based on a highly secure platform located within the airwave network. It is also extremely resilient and designed to support mission critical police operations. O2 Airwave offers a fully managed solution with support on a 24/7 basis.
The MAG Service has been developed specifically with the needs of public safety users in mind. Hosted in the Airwave network, the MAG provides a, multi tenanted solution, with all of the resilience, security and administration features demanded by the police. As it is a hosted service, customer deployments are low risk and rapid.
The MAG Service supports a number of security features such as device and user authentication, access profile and password management, public bearer encryption and the ability to ‘stun’ and ‘kill’ lost or stolen devices remotely. The MAG also manages and delivers ‘over the air’ software upgrades of remote devices.
Customer are provided with access to the MAG Service which enables them to perform self-provisioning and self-administration of user ‘moves & changes’, together with logging and auditing tools to assist in the deployment and control of users.
Built on industry standard hardware and software, the MAG is designed to be highly resilient and scalable to support a national user base of over 100,000 users.
O2 Airwave has years of experience in developing mobile applications, which are designed to be fast, robust and highly intuitive, meaning users can quickly become productive with the minimum of training
O2 Airwave offers a managed service capability including implementation, support and management services to complement the market leading features of the MAG Service.