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UK cops to be kitted out with smartphones

'Just collared @doccrippen'

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Smartphones look set to become the law of the land in Blighty, because it has been announced that most British police forces will be equipped with them by March 2010.

According to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), which supports the police smartphone rollout, officers spend 30 minutes less per shift in police stations when equipped with smartphones.

Smartphone fuzz can, for example, remotely access databases and receive briefings when they're not collaring crooks, the NPIA said.

It’s still unclear how much giving a smartphone to every police officer in the UK will cost, but the government is believed to have put aside £80m ($130m/€87m) for the project.

To put that figure into content, Bedfordshire Police – one of 30 forces which already boast smartphone-equipped coppers – has said that the devices cost roughly £270 ($439/€294) per year, per officer.

Bedfordshire police officers used to spend 46 per cent of their time inside police buildings, Inspector Jim Hitch of Bedfordshire Police told the BBC. Since the introduction of smartphones that figure has fallen to 36 per cent, he claimed. ®

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