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Panasonic Toughbook helps officers transform policing in South Yorkshire & Humberside

The South Yorkshire Police forces cover an area of approximately 600 square miles, made up of the county's three boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, along with the City of Sheffield. The resident population is 1.2 million. The Humberside Policing area spans The East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.


The deployment of Panasonic mobile technology across the South Yorkshire & Humberside police forces is helping officers to transform the way they operate, enabling them to spend more time away from their desks and responding more efficiently to calls from members of the public.

The Mobile Data Project currently being undertaken is helping to combat the cycle of “Bungee Policing”, where officers visit a crime scene, take notes and then have to return to the station to file reports on desktop computers before they can return to the streets. “Over the past decade, this type of operation had drastically increased the amount of time that officers spend at their desks,” said Inspector Richard Atherton, Business Engagement Manager at South Yorkshire Police. “Our Mobile Data Project is transforming this work practice allowing officers to record and report vital information at the scene, without having to return to the police station, enabling them to spend more time in the community.”

The forces considered a wide range of devices before identifying the Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX3 business rugged convertible Ultrabook as the mobile technology that best suited its needs.

“We needed a device that could handle the high volume of work and be used by over 4,000 officers in every uniformed department,” explained Richard. “Before making our choice, we had some clear criteria for the device. For example, it needed to be possible to use the device in both notebook form with a keyboard for recording information and tablet mode for consuming information. However, there were about 10 different devices that on paper could meet our different criteria and it wasn’t until we tested the devices that we found the right device for us.”

Police officers put the different devices through their paces and the Panasonic CF-AX3 Toughbook Ultrabook was their choice. "It was sturdily built and met all our requirements" said Richard. 

"The ruggedness was particularly important for us because the devices are deployed in vehicles and will be used by multiple officers as they come on shift, so they had to be able take a lot of punishment. The other devices we tested could also be used in both notebook and laptop mode, for example, but we felt these were much more flimsy.”

The police force has now deployed 660 Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX3 Ultrabooks into its marked vehicles. All uniformed officer departments including emergency response, neighbourhood, traffic and firearms as well as tactical support teams use them. 

The devices sit in the passenger footwell of the vehicles in their own specially designed case with power connection. The system was designed with the support of Panasonic ProServices specialist team of engineers working in conjunction with South Yorkshire & Humberside Police. “We wanted a simple but effective way to carry the devices in the vehicles and Panasonic were able to help us develop this solution. It’s simplicity and cost effectiveness has been recognised as a major benefit by other forces that have seen the deployment,” said Richard. As the devices have become the main communication tool for the officers and because of their heavy usage, the force also upgraded the warranty option to include Panasonic’s accidental damage cover, which ensures the devices are repaired quickly and minimises any downtime.

The Panasonic Toughbook notebooks have had a major impact on the day-to-day working practices of the police force. The devices are used for email communication, briefing and incident information as well as locating sites using GPS maps. In addition, reports for missing persons, sudden death and crime can now be recorded at the scene and transmitted securely back to systems at the station without having to travel back to the building.

“We have already seen some major wins as a result of the roll-out,” said Richard. “For example, filing missing person reports live, while at the scene, with all the detailed information required, can save vital time and make a massive difference to the result of the investigation.”

Officers have also been enthusiastic about using the Panasonic Toughbook technology. In fact, a four-page report of positive comments and examples of how the devices have helped the officers in their jobs has already been collated and it continues to grow.

The Panasonic CF-AX3 Toughbook Windows 8 Ultrabook™ is a highly mobile, lightweight (1.15 kg) and sleek design (18mm thick), inspired by Intel. The hybrid design allows for converting between a conventional notebook form and tablet. The innovative robust 360° flip-over hinge design and 10 finger capacitive touchscreen enables the user to alternate between each function whilst on the move. With its hot swappable battery, innovative drop resistant features to ensure the display and other internal key parts are protected from direct impacts and wide range of accessories, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-AX3 Ultrabook is the perfect partner for police officers on the move.