Staffordshire Police


The Objective

Staffordshire Police is a leading force in fostering mobile policing. Back in 2005, in alignment with the government's stated objectives to have 10,000 mobile devices on the streets by the end of 2008, Staffordshire began the process of painstakingly developing a suite of applications to function on a device of their choice. From directly accessing the DVLA national database and the Police National Computer (PNC) to filing crime reports, they needed to be secure, remotely maintained and crucially, easy to use by the 1,500 officers carrying them.

After a comprehensive three year bidding process, Digital Defence reseller Blue Cube Security was chosen to secure the hardware and information stored on it. A combination of their approach and the built-in attributes of the Secure Mobile Enterprise software clinched the contract. "Blue Cube approached the task with a flexible attitude which as a key attribute and it held an impeccable track record of working with the Police so understood our rigid requirements", explains Ian de Soyza, Mobile Data Project Manager at Staffordshire Police.

The seamless integration of the Secure Mobile Enterprise software also appealed. Created to sit under the Windows Mobile operating system, the project team worked with Digital Defence to further refine the solution to fit their particular requirements. A unique output of this process was the inclusion of new biometric login using fingerprint technology to further secure the devices. In this case it replaced the built-in password authentication which could potentially have slightly hindered the day-to-day use of the device by officers in real time. Added to this, the integral encryption technology secured the information by automatically encrypting data held on removable storage and in non-volatile storage. The data being automatically encrypted as it is written and decrypted when it is read.

Elaborating further on the objectives, Ian de Soyza says, "We realised at the outset that securing the device was an essential aspect of the project. The Secure Mobile Enterprise solution is effective but also simple and straightforward to use. In particular, the facilities provided to remotely deploy the software and to support users remotely simplified the logistics of supporting a large population of highly mobile users." Here the ease of managing the solution was demonstrated as every device could be secured and set up without being recalled. The system works by enabling a central administrator who remotely installs, manages and recalls lost passwords and data from lost, stolen and faulty smartphones from their desk. They can set the rules for what data is encrypted and even limit the use of ports such as Bluetooth, WiFi and infra red.

The Deployment

When it came to deployment, the emphasis on creating an invisible layer of security for the owners of the devices proved to be a winning strategy. A master image was created, and shift by shift the officers were brought in and trained on how their function would be changing together with how to practically use their HTC P6500 device. With the software installed remotely from a central console all the officers had to do was to select their passwords, a challenge question and response, and the process was complete.

The Benefits

Since the handheld devices have been deployed a 10% increase in visible policing in Staffordshire has been recorded, creating significant cost savings for the Force and a tangible result of this pioneering approach to effective policing.

And this is just the start. "Having solved the security issues, a whole range of possibilities have opened up." says de Soyza. "Storing data on the device is no longer a security risk and this means we can provide officers with more extensive facilities to record details of an incident be it a traffic violation or a crime report, store this information on the device, transmit it once complete and recall it for reference."

Secure Mobile Enterprise is currently undergoing CAPS approval which is due to be set at a 'confidential' level, providing a unique standard of accreditation for Police, government and other public and private sector organisation.