If you thought the next generation of police cars would come from a technological hotbed such as Silicon Valley or Shanghai, think again. In terms of cutting-edge automotive policing aids, Dorset is where it’s at.

Not normally associated with having to cope with heavy-duty crime, Dorset Police has worked with BMW to design the UK’s first fully integrated police cars. A state-of-the-art in-car mobile data system allows officers to control vital crime-detection aids via a touch screen and central CPU.

That means the old bill can consolidate applications such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition, speed detection, video capture, satnav and vehicle data recording in one interface. Crucially, it’s also future proof, with biometric facial recognition and fingerprint scanners under consideration as and when the need arises, and it can also be adapted by other forces to suit their particular requirements.

The system will be installed initially into a BMW 530d, a BMW X5, a Ford Mondeo ST220 and a Ford Focus.

Paul Chick, Dorset Police business project manager, said: “As officers will be able to access the Dorset Police force-wide system inside, and outside, of their police vehicle, this mobile data system will save both time and manpower. It has the potential to increase the amount of time an officer will spend out of a station and on patrol, thereby ensuring that members of the public are aware of an even more highly visible police presence".

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