UK Police to get the BlackBerry PlayBook

By James Richardson on 18 Oct 2012 09:26 am EDT

We have known for some time that a few Police departments in Canada already use the BlackBerry PlayBook, and if my memory serves me correctly I think that the PlayBook Cruiser even turned up at Kevin's house one day to show off its super powers! The software onboard the BlackBerry PlayBook designed for the police is developed by Mobile Innovations who we have also featured a several times recently. 

Rather excitingly for me I had a meeting this week with my new friend Bruce Murchie who works for Xenium Solutions in the UK who has an ongoing relationship with Mobile Innovations. As the BlackBerry solution has been so successful in Canada it is now time to start working on the UK Police Forces and to see if they are interested in utilizing the PlayBook as an in-car option. And the good news is that many are.

Sussex Police have committed to a trial and if successful they will install the PlayBook into about 400 of their vehicles. Clearly this is great news for RIM but it is also a massive cost saving exercise for the police who are having their budgets cut on a yearly basis. So for example - a standard Police response car may well have some kind of screen and computer installed into it and I am told that the cost of the equipment may be as much as £4000. As we are all aware the BlackBerry PlayBook is as cheap as chips these days and even with the dock and additional hardware required to make best use of the tablet the cost will be a fraction off the £4000.

The PlayBooks that will be used by the UK Police will be the WiFi versions however each officer will also be issued with a BlackBerry smartphone to allow him to bridge with the tablet. As well as being a money saving solution there are a whole host of other advantages to the Police using the PlayBook. With the new style dock that Mobile Innovations have created the Police Officer can take the PlayBook with him wherever he/she goes, therefore having the benefit of not only accessing the specific police applications but also being able to take photos, record HD video etc.


Along with the PlayBook there will be a variety of other hardware installed into the police car - including a printer, a scanner for use with driving licences, NFC connectivity, GPS, the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard and quite impressively - a webcam which can be used for an array of tasks including streaming live video back to the police control room.


Bruce tells me that three of our Police Forces in Wales are also very interested in the PlayBook solution and are currently waiting for a final report from Sussex Police at the end of this month before making a decision. As well as BlackBerry 10 on the horizon it looks like things may well be picking up for the PlayBook too. That makes me a 'happy James'. 

Reader comments

UK Police to get the BlackBerry PlayBook


No more so than regular laptops get swiped. I'm sure there will be a lockable mount for actual installs.

Mobile Innovations worked with RIM to come up with direct print and USB stick access. It was covered in the article about the RIM Cruiser.

Requires some hardware apparently, but it is doable

I don't know why we don't see RIM pushing the PlayBook to universities and colleges. It's a huge market waiting to be tapped! It's perfect for students with Docs2Go built right in.

Because it is a highly contested marketplace that they have no experience in and they don't have the software to compete with companies like Apple who have been in the education space for decades.

What they have been doing with police forces over the last few years ties into their established enterprise business. It's a marketplace where their solution is ahead or on par with the competition.

way to go... we gonna beat all the markets soon.. come on RIM..

BB 9780 white os 6

BB Playbook 32gb os

such a cool thing and will this more than ever save money even if you get the 4g/3g version for 500 lol thats nothing compared to the 4000 they are spending to old ones. Quite cool that this secuirty and ability can be used in this way.

I don't think they even give a shizzle. THEY NEED TO WORK, not waste time gaming.

Edit: Have you forgotten that the playbook comes with Video Chat right out of the box? That's what they'll be using.

* BlackBerry by choice *
Well reported James. I'm in the US and would love to see the PlayBook used in such a way here too. That's really awesome and will hopefully lead to expanding law enforcement usage of the PlayBook.

so the next time I get pulled over for a document check by the cops here in Canada, Im a ask them if it's on their playbook? cause in the last month, I been stopped four times and last year 23 times. Im a Canadian born citizen without a criminal record nor any infractions on my license in 22 years. dunno why i get pulled over so much....

What I wanna know is how are they able to hook up all the hardware to it...It would be amazing if devs could step up their game and come up with ways to connect other hardware to PB. Who would need a laptop then...

Is this why they're freezing the wifi models here in the US? So the remaining ones can go into law enforcement and other uses? I'm feeling left out. It's hard waiting for the next shipment to come in. Hopefully, this will mean that RIM will continue to produce Playbooks (not that I've heard otherwise).

I am going to be honest. I think when this concept going real, they will make a better desing about the hardware other then tablet, so this would be perfect for mobile police officers.

By the way, the encryption side of the blackberry make it best choice for police too.

Bogus title... It's still wishful thinking at this stage...
I can't see what else they would use as they don't have the resources to make Android secure enough for use in the police force.


And if nothing else, the playbook flies like a frisbee if tossed properly so it can help bring down that perp. Halt! Or I'll BOOK you!

Love my PB but wondering how the Police are going to get info quickly. If they use the bridge browser it will never get there and if they leave the car they'll have to reconnect with tether every time.