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Sussex police in mobile broadband trial

NextWave : 24 April, 2008  (Application Story)
Streaming surveillance images and crime-scene details across mobile broadband network brings significant operational benefits to Sussex police.
NextWave Wireless in collaboration with Northrop Grumman and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), has successfully completed a public safety network trial in the county of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

The trial, hosted by the Sussex Police, demonstrated several ways in which a mobile broadband network could increase security, help the police force respond faster to emergency services, and enable real-time transmission of time-sensitive crime scene forensics.

The trial was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2007 in Lewes, near Brighton, in the county of Sussex, UK, using a mobile broadband network powered by TD-CDMA technology from NextWave Wireless. A Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standards-based mobile broadband wireless technology, the technology delivers the broadband mobility, high capacity, reliability, and scalability required to meet the real-time, fail-safe demands of a public safety network.

Initiated through the NPIA's mobile information programme, which encourages police forces and private sector companies to come together to provide solutions to policing challenges such as public order, neighbourhood policing, and investigations where mobile data can be valuable, the mobile broadband network trial allowed the Sussex Police to test the public safety solution from NextWave Wireless and its teammate Northrop Grumman in an operational setting.

"Recent comments made by the Home Secretary to make handsets or PDAs available to provide real-time data, particularly images, to those serving the front line have raised awareness about the need for mobile data capabilities in the police service," said Jon Ashe, Principal Scenes of Crime Officer, Sussex Police. "This is a fast-paced area of technical development which Sussex Police is committed to support, so we were eager to set rigorous trial objectives and pleased to see how effectively mobile broadband technologies could be implemented in the field."

During the trial, the Sussex Police used the mobile broadband network to successfully transmit streaming video from fixed positions, from body-worn apparatus, and from moving vehicles, tested at extreme pursuit speeds, to the command station at police headquarters. The trial also showed the value of high-speed mobile broadband in automotive pursuits and in potential arrest scenarios. Typically, databases used for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) are updated only on a daily basis. With the mobile broadband network, ANPR databases in police cars could be updated in real time at any time without the intervention of - or knowledge of - the police officers in the car, ensuring that those on the front lines have the most accurate information at all times.

The Sussex Police also created simulated crime scenes to gauge how well the mobile broadband network could serve the police in "real-life" scenarios. Trainee detectives and officers of the Scenes of Crime unit, the police department's forensic service, used the mobile broadband network to successfully manage multiple crime scenes in real-time, while the live video feeds enabled real-time remote investigation of the crime scenes for the first time in UK policing. In addition to enabling real-time remote investigation, the public safety trial demonstrated that it was possible to significantly reduce the average amount of time between crime scene marks and identification of suspects under typical conditions from six days to 85 minutes.

The trial also showed that forensic evidence could be transmitted from the crime scene to the command station very quickly, thus facilitating operational and investigative coordination. The mobile broadband public safety network also allowed the police on the scene to immediately submit time-sensitive high-definition photographs, fingerprint lifts, and footmarks directly from the crime scene to specialised databases for recovery, matching and intelligence dissemination.

NextWave Wireless supplied the TD-CDMA Node B base stations and related core equipment for the mobile broadband public safety network, and provided installation, commissioning, and project management support services. Northrop Grumman supplied CCTV cameras, shoulder-mounted video cameras, tablet PCs, an Automatic Number Plate recognition (ANPR) camera and database control room facilities, and provided system integration services, project management, and technical support for the applications.

"We are extremely proud to have participated with Northrop Grumman, and the NPIA in this landmark public safety trial," said Dr Bill Jones, Chief Executive Officer, NextWave Wireless Network Products. "The trial results clearly indicate the positive impact our mobile broadband solutions can have on improving the efficiency and accuracy of our public safety systems."

More than 10 companies or organisations visited the trial including Sir David Normington, the Permanent Secretary of State for the Home Office; the Olympic Security Directorate, the division of the [London] Metropolitan Police responsible developing security requirements for the 2012 Olympics; UK Government Department of Trade and Investment; Ofcom, the UK Telecoms regulator; senior NPIA management and Transport for London.

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