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BlackBerry use saves UK police over £100m a year

Manufacturer seeks to highlight potential efficiency saving from mobile technology

Using Blackberry smartphones on the beat saves police forces across the UK £112m every year, manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) claims.

The devices allow officers to access and update records on the move, resulting in more time spent on the streets.

Bedfordshire Police has been using the smartphones for around four years to access Police National Computer (PNC) information, helping avoid overuse of the radio network and its operators. The Blackberry's secure password and encryption technology allows secure connection to the PNC.

This has brought the force a 10% increase in the time officers spend patrolling the streets. 82% of officers thought BlackBerrys helped them to do their job and 75% said that it would matter to them if the force took away their device.

West Yorkshire police officers use BlackBerrys to report crime and work on prosecution files away from the station.

RIM sought to highlight the potential for efficiency savings as police budgets face funding cuts. "We have tens of thousands of devices being used by police officers around the UK and every device delivers efficiency benefits to the officer that uses it through a host of applications that have been specifically designed for those in the police sector," said Graham Baker, senior manager of UK public sector at RIM.

"For example, officers are also using BlackBerry smartphones to access warrant information and DVLA databases, meaning they can make arrests on the move without checking back with base," Barker claimed.