Connected Cars For Hertfordshire Constabulary
Hertfordshire police serve an area of 632 square miles, with a population of well over a million people and a wide range of demands on the force. To help the constabulary better serve their community the force wanted to create a connected vehicle network that would enable police officers to access real-time information at the point of need to enable faster and more informed decisions.
The force selected the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet device to provide the computing power required for their solution. Westbase.io, working with the Vauxhall specialist vehicles team and Panasonic ProServices, were brought in to provide a 4G connectivity solution.
After capturing the scope of the project’s requirements, Westbase.io were able to provide guidance on the best router and connectivity options to support the varied applications used by the force. Working closely with the teams at both Vauxhall and Panasonic, a high-performance vehicle networking solution was specified and field tested, before then being approved and deployed to the forces’ vehicles.
“When considering connectivity options for Hertfordshire Constabulary’s vehicles, a Cradlepoint COR router was the obvious choice,” said Sacha Kakad, Managing Director of Westbase.io, “it integrates easily, has class-leading WiFi, offers persistent 4G connectivity, and is semi-ruggedised – meaning it can withstand the conditions of a vehicular environment while still providing reliable high-speed connectivity.”
After selecting the COR router, Westbase.io proceeded to identify the best antenna to accompany the product – for which a low profile option, designed specifically for vehicular application, was selected. It was essential that the antenna supported all of the features of the Cradlepoint router; MIMO LTE, MIMO WiFi, and GPS. Westbase.io then provided workshops and practical guidance to Vauxhall on router and antenna positioning within the cars, so that the quality of connection would be optimised.
The pre-configured Cradlepoint COR router and antenna combination were installed by Vauxhall at their Millbrook facility as part of the police vehicle’s upgrade or manufacturing process. This enabled a streamlined work flow and optimised setup ready for the Hertfordshire Police to use.
The Panasonic Toughpad and COR router combo was rolled out to a 10 car trial initially, and delivered exciting results. The Cradlepoint device not only provided the connectivity required to access real-time information as hoped, but also created a WiFi hotspot in and around the police vehicle which extended the use of the in-vehicle connectivity – allowing officers to use the Toughpad on the ground as well as in their cars. So impressive was the trial that it caught the attention of Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May.
Since this initial trial a further 170 vehicles have been kitted out with the Toughpad and COR routers – revolutionising policing in the Hertfordshire Constabulary. The technology has been rolled out to traffic and community police, as well as specialist teams such as armed response – showcasing how the application can support a variety of mobile police activities.
“Officers are telling us that this is the best piece of technology for policing in the past 10 years.”
The overall technology solution enabled the creation of a ‘mobile police station’, allowing officers to securely access command and control systems, carry out database checks and access their desktop applications for email, web and the intranet – all while on the road, saving valuable time and keeping police officers in the field for longer. The technology has also enabled the deployment of automatic number plate and facial recognition technology, helping the force identify vehicles and suspects of interest with greater accuracy and speed.
“There is no doubt that we are seeing the business and community benefits of these devices. They improve our access to information, which improves our crime intelligence and arrest rates. They also make our officers more visible by enabling them to be in the community for more of the time,” said Detective Chief Inspector Damien Kennedy, the project manager for mobile data.
“The Toughpad and related technology are enabling us to help the community and prevent and detect crime in ways that have never been possible before.”
Since the initial Hertfordshire Police connected car roll out, several other police forces have also trialled the technology to great success and Westbase.io are actively working with Panasonic ProServices to help deliver this solution to police forces across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
“Having witnessed the positive impact of the connected cars on policing capabilities, and been a part of that with Hertfordshire Constabulary, Panasonic and Vauxhall, Westbase.io is proud to supply the connectivity products which makes this possible,” said Kakad, Managing Director of Westbase.io.