With growing security fears, as well as the growing volume of passengers using the rail network, reducing or eliminating non value added time is a key target for the British Transport Police (BTP). The mobile data project is focused on making the production of legislatively necessary paperwork as efficient possible. In 2006 the Stop and Search Community Panel endorsed BTP’s Mobile Data project based around Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) using GPRS to connect into a number of key force systems. They were particularly impressed with the ability to print out the stop forms that allows BTP to comply with current legislation and Codes of Practice around the accountability of stop and search. As part of this the British Transport Police needed a fast, efficient, yet secure hand-held mobile printing solution to work alongside the PDAs for issuing instant ‘stop-and-search’ records.
A Brother MPrint can fit in the palm of a hand, but still provides instant printing and sharing of printed information wherever the user may be. Ultra compact and streamlined, it fits easily into the customised pocket on the BTP Police jacket or on a belt and, with integrated Bluetooth technology, it prints directly from a mobile device.
MPrint is compatible with various software and hardware, including Blackberrys, PDAs, Tablets, MDT’s and other mobile hardware on the market, and it offers many sophisticated functions including built-up fonts and barcode generation. The smallest version, used by the British Transport Police, the MW-140BT, produces A7 size prints. It has a unique cut-sheet paper cassette system that takes seconds to install, preventing paper curl and, as no cutters or tear bars are involved, it guarantees that the sheets are the same size time after time.
Brother upgraded the firmware of the printer to allow the use of an 8 digit
alpha-numeric pin between the printer and PDA used by the BTP officers and also added the feature undiscoverable mode to meet the security needs of the British Transport Police.
Having all the equipment needed to process and print data on the spot means that BTP officers are free from unnecessary paperwork, reducing the need to access computers back at the office, and allowing officers to spend more time policing. Andrew Watson, Chief Information Officer for British Transport Police says: “The use of the mobile data solution has enabled officers to spend an additional 51 minutes out on the beat – roughly 10% of a shift.”
Now, British Transport Police have another weapon against crime. Brother MPrint affords BTP a unique facility to print stop forms. “The officer simply completes the data at the scene, prints the form, hands it to the stopped person and that encounter is then closed,” explains Andrew. “Even with intelligence reporting, the data can be recycled via drop and insert, there is no need to re-key data and it is very user friendly.” MPrint even matches the uniform: “At BTP we redesigned officer uniforms creating a vest overlay with pockets, specifically designed to house the PDA and the Brother MPrint which is only 17mm thick. With the equipment being low profile, carrying it on the body has not been an issue. This was also another reason for selecting a cartridge printer as opposed to a roll printer. Every stop necessitates the use of one sheet of paper and the printer cartridges hold 50 sheets, therefore officers carry an additional pack with them. Since the introduction of printing stop forms, we have seen a 93% increase in the number of stops and it has not created any additional paperwork.”