§ Mr. Denham
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 22 October 2002,Official Report, column 243W, on the action I am taking to increase the time police officers can spend on the streets rather than dealing with paperwork. The introduction of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for police officers has the potential to make a major contribution to that aim.
The Police Bureaucracy Taskforce identified a clear and pressing requirement for officers to be able to remotely update force systems via a hand-held device. A number of forces are now taking this forward and are piloting the use of hand-held devices. However we need to ensure that any hand-held device is useable in an operational environment and that the technical and information management infrastructure is also in place to provide and send data. That is why we are taking a pilot approach.
Our aim is to identify and spread good practice and provide practical advice and guidance to forces on the implementation and use of mobile data services. We are also providing forces with the new Airwave radio communication system, which when fully implemented will deliver mobile data facilities.