Tablets in Hertfordshire are more commonly used to catch-up on missed TV or to tweet about celebrity gossip, but the county’s police are using the technology to spend more time on the road and track criminals.
The days of officers darting between crime scenes and the station to file reports could be a thing of the past as the force’s men and women are equipped with new Panasonic FZ-G1 "Toughpads".
These devices have been rolled out into 93 of the county’s police cars - at £5,000 a pop.
The aim is to use this ruggedised, waterproof hardware to help officers tackle crime quicker and more effectively and the chief inspector spearheading the campaign is making no excuses for the cost.
CI Damien Kennedy, who leads to mobile data team, said: "It’s not a cheap option and maybe other police forces will turn around and have a heart attack at the cost of that because it isn’t cheap, but that breaks down to the device, router, aerial, keyboard, screen, sim cards and the revenue costs so I don’t think we are ashamed of how much it costs and I think we are quite proud that we are investing in something for Hertfordshire and the people that we serve."
He said that, as long as the force has got the budget and manpower, then the money should be put towards "something good", such as these tablets.
He added: "I am really proud. It has been really well received and all the hard work we have put into it is kind of paying off now, so I am really pleased."
CI Kennedy said Hertfordshire Constabulary is the first force in the country to take the Windows 8 tablet and dock it in the police car. As a result officers will be able to work remotely.
He added: "We had to be thinking what this officer would need in a field at 2am. We wanted to put in their hands something they could use which would help them manage that incident and respond to that incident."
Every police car in the county is now a wifi hotspot and the device is still connected to the internet up to 200ft away from the vehicle.
This will allow Hertfordshire’s police to become a completely mobile police force.
The software has gone through a few tweaks over the past year. Originally launched in October, the mobile data team found there were problems connecting to the internet.
As a result, a new aerial called the "jellyfish" has been installed on police cars, allowing even greater connectivity.
CI Kennedy said he is looking at rolling out this "cutting edge" technology into the force’s other units, including its helicopters, dog vans, and traffic teams.
He added: "We want to take it one step further and we want to now put the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software that some police cars have and load it onto the tablet so we’re changing the way we track organised criminals and changing the way we respond to critical incidences."