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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Police armed with new technology
Policeman with Blackberry
The devices have saved 145 hours work per year for each officer
Hi-tech pocket computers are helping police outwit wanted suspects who try to bluff their way out of being arrested when stopped on the streets.

Frontline officers in West Yorkshire equipped with handheld Blackberry devices can now instantly download digital mugshots of wanted offenders.

The upgraded technology aims to catch out those who try to avoid arrest by giving false details.

West Yorkshire Police said the devices had saved 8.8m by speeding up checks.

The devices enable frontline officers to instantly access digital mugshots and check other vital information on an individual they have stopped.

Criminal history

Data available can tell officers whether suspects are known to carry weapons, have a history of violent behaviour or if there is a warrant for their arrest.

The force currently has 2,500 Blackberrys in operation and says the technology has already led to a number of arrests.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said the devices saved each frontline officer an average of 145 hours a year by being able to access computer systems while on the streets. He said this would result in estimated savings of 8.8m in 2006.

The spokesman said: "The devices have given a major boost to the force's neighbourhood policing teams by helping them to spend even more time out working in communities."

Future developments of the scheme could see officers on the ground being able to link into traffic cameras and be notified of the approach of a stolen vehicle.

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