Thames Valley is the latest police force to equip its officers with BlackBerry devices, in a bid to reduce the amount of time officers spend returning to their stations to perform administrative tasks.
1,100 police officers and police community support officers will be given one of the 8310 Curve devices under a scheme funded by the Home Office and National Policing Improvement Agency.
According to a RIM spokesman, half of the country’s 43 forces now use BlackBerrys, with 10 per cent of the 143,000 police officers in the UK using the devices.
RIM’s public sector sales manager Graham Baker said security was the key to the public sector take-up of the devices. ‘Security is not an “add-on”. The data stored is encrypted and can be wiped remotely,’ he said.
Baker also highlighted that BlackBerry smartphones are the only mobile devices to be accredited for use with up to ‘restricted’ level data by CESG, the UK government’s national security body.
The handsets, which will run on Orange’s network, will enable officers to access the Police National Computer and look up video witness and custody photographs, the missing persons database and a database containing warrants, court orders and bail information.