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Bobbies on the Beat Get Upgraded with Tablets – Who Foots the Bill?

Ten Sussex Coppers have been armed with tablet tech in a new scheme to discover if modern gadgets can improve the efficiency of our protective public servants on their patrols and when making arrests.

The tablets will have access to a vast database of witness files, criminal records and the like, meaning police time will be better spent and incidents can be handled more effectively.

The costs of the intentionally unspecified gadgets are being handled by the National Policing Improvements Agency and are said to have a project budget of £25,000. A spokesperson for the scheme told Guardian Government Computing that “We are not disclosing the make of the devices at this stage for reasons of commercial confidentiality” – So we’re not sure what devices the Sussex fuzz will be carrying, and certainly hope we don’t find out first hand!

The spokesperson addresses the speculation that the beat cops will be getting top-of-the-range tech upgrades (or iPads) saying “Speculating that all police officers will be issued with a tablet is fanciful, as is the suggestion that Blackberry Playbook tablets are £999 each – they’re on Amazon for £199.”

The trial begins in the Lewes District today (July the 2nd) and the handing out of tablets, interestingly, is in response to a £50-million budget cut affecting the British police force in the next three years.

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