'Out of office reply' could be thing of the past for bobbies policing streets across the Scunthorpe area
BOBBIES on the beat in North Lincolnshire could soon be able to log on to the Humberside Police database in public libraries, schools and community centres.
The move is part of a scheme by Virgin Media Business to link public sector organisations through the sharing of computers.
It is being rolled out across the Yorkshire and Humber area as part of a new public services network (YHPSN) initiative.
The secure network will connect up to 52 public service providers including local authorities, healthcare providers and emergency services.
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The system is designed to save costs on information and communication technology infrastructure and help staff share information more readily. This in turn will help services to be more joined up.
Humberside Police is among the organisations to have joined the network and bosses hope it will help make more efficient use of resources.
Ian Maughan, communications manager at Humberside Police, said various security measures would be taken over the use of the network.
He said: "The agreed and strategic use of sharing networks and estates will need to be co-ordinated at a number of levels.
"The ability for any member of staff, PCSO or otherwise to utilise YHPSN-provided connectivity will very much depend on the agreed profile and cannot be established as a free for all.
"Staff can be more mobile and visible and will not need to return to designated police stations to complete their work leading to an increase in productivity."
Geoff Prowling, YHPSN programme director, confirmed Humberside and South Yorkshire Police had merged their IT departments. Both are named partners on the YHPSN framework.
He said: "A shared services network will give us the tools to work together to deliver excellent frontline services to local people. We can make the best use of our resources and still cut costs."
Jeff Wollen, executive director for public sector at Virgin Media Business, said: "With limited funds it's essential that public sector organisations are getting the most out of their resources.
"Now organisations in Yorkshire and Humberside will be able to streamline their network infrastructure with a single access point for all PSN services."
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