Limerick gardai go digital as pilot app is launched

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Limerick gardai go digital as pilot app is launched

Garda Brian Duddy, Garda Nick Jones and Gardai Oliver Gee show off the new app | Picture: Dave Gaynor

FIFTY gardai from across the Limerick garda division are to be issued with smartphones as part of a pilot scheme which will run over the next six months.

The roll-out of the new phones and secure garda apps is the culmination of more than a year’s work and is a key part of the Garda ACTIVE Mobility strategy.

Launching the initiative, Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said there is huge potential for the initiative which could see more gardai out on the beat rather than being stuck behind desks at garda stations.

“It’s about bringing the station into the community instead of bringing the community into the station,” he said.

While the new ‘mobile data stations’ will be distributed to gardai across the city and county there will be a heavy focus on traffic and so called “lookups” initially.

Instead of having to contact the communications centre at Henry Street, gardai will be able to almost instantaneously check the details of cars on the roadside using a secure app which has access to Pulse records.

Once the registration number is entered, the app will then display the results with colour-coded warnings which may result in further action being taken.

At a checkpoint on the Dock Road on Thursday night more than a dozen cars were found to have out-of-date tax while there was one detection for no insurance.

In addition to having access to Pulse records, the smartphones will also allow gardai to access their (garda) emails remotely – generating greater efficiencies such as the emailing of CCTV footage from a crime scene directly into an incident room.

Tim Willoughby, head of digital services and innovation with An Garda Siochana, says all of the devices are encrypted and secure and can be shut down and wiped if lost, stolen or damaged.

Each of the gardai have also undergone full training in relation to their use as well as Data Protection protocols.

As part of the pilot scheme, a number of new ‘Active’ patrol cars will also be deployed within the Limerick garda division.

The vehicles have been fitted with equipment which amlplifies the mobile phone signal in the area and allows the car to act as a mobile hot spot for gardai on the ground.

Following the six month pilot, a review will take place with all of the revevant stakeholders with a view to rolling out a national scheme over the next three years.