South Yorkshire Police has introduced a converged IP network to improve communication among its 3,300 officers.

Supplied by ntl:Telewest Business, the system will provide the force with access to new technologies including IP CCTV, videoconferencing and voice over IP (VoIP) telephony.

South Yorkshire Police network manager Kevin Battersby says the infrastructure will help the force deal with increasing demands for bandwidth.

?We were running a mesh network using 2Mbit/s circuits, and it was getting to the stage where it was creaking,? he said. ?We have new applications coming along all the time, and they all grab more bandwidth. We had to increase the bandwidth that we had available.?

Some 72 South Yorkshire Police sites have been connected to the network, which can now operate at 10Mbit/s, sufficient to carry videoconferencing traffic.

The ability to hold remote meetings using video technology will be a great time-saver for the force, says Battersby.

?A commander could give a briefing to a number of different officers in different sites simultaneously, meaning officers do not have to travel and can use images in their briefing,? he said.

The system also supports IP CCTV, enabling South Yorkshire Police to access images from town centre cameras.

The network allows the force to plug these feeds directly into its network. ?It will help us respond quicker and identify criminals faster,? said Battersby.

Among the applications to be supported by the new network is the national case preparation system, an electronic tool for producing case papers.

The case preparation system will ultimately allow the force to share information with the Magistrates? Courts? Libra case management system, says Battersby.

?That will save time in the trial process, by eliminating the transport of court papers in hard copy and making them searchable,? he said.

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