Garda smartphone initiative trialled in Limerick wins tech award

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Ashling Cunningham, Ervia, presents the Digital Edge award to Tim Willoughby and Assistant Commissoner David Sheahan

Ashling Cunningham, Ervia, presents the Digital Edge award to Tim Willoughby and Assistant Commissoner David Sheahan

A PILOT initiative which has seen gardai across the Limerick garda division being issued with smartphones has won a prestigious award.

The ACTIVE Mobility initiative, which was launched last December, won the Digital Edge award at the 2018 Tech Excellence Awards.    

ACTIVE is shorthand for Accessible, Community Based, Transparent, Innovative, Visible, Effective.

Tim Willoughby, head of digital services and innovation at An Garda Síochána, was also recognised when he picked up the person of the year award at the ceremony which took place at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

The former head of the Limerick gardai division, Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, led the initiative which could be rolled out to garda stations nationwide following a review of the pilot scheme.

The roll-out of the new phones and secure garda apps to around 50 gardai in Limerick was the culmination of more than a year’s work and is a key part of the Garda ACTIVE Mobility strategy.

Launching the initiative in December, Asst Comm David Sheahan said there was 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’ were distributed to gardai across the city and county there has been a heavy focus on traffic and so called “lookups” during the pilot scheme.

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

The Tech Excellence Awards were adjudicated by a number of industry experts – Eoin O’Driscoll (Tyndall National Institute), Dr Jim Mountjoy (Science Foundation Ireland), Peter McManamon (Atlantic Bridge), Dr Seán Baker (Lero), Louise Nichols (Brown Bag Films), Tom O’Sullivan (Irish Computer Society) and Aisling Cunningham (Ervia).