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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

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Cumbria police planning switch to digital interview equipment

Cumbria Constabulary’s interviewing equipment could be given a £360,000 revamp, with plans in place for the force to go digital.

Officers say the cash outlay would hopefully reduce costs in the long-term at a time when money worries and spending cuts play a major part in 21st century policing.

The plan includes replacing old-fashioned cassette storage of interviews with suspects and witnesses with CDs or digital files.

Officers could access the digital files from across the county – a handy alternative to having tapes ferried throughout Cumbria if needed for inquiries at different stations.

The force says its hand is also being forced due to fears that the supply of cassettes could “dry up”.

If the plan goes ahead it would lead to new equipment being installed at the force’s 40 interview rooms countywide.

These include interview rooms at stations including the Durranhill industrial estate headquarters in Carlisle and Workington and Whitehaven police stations.

Inspector Neil Carlton explained the thinking behind the plan.

He said: “Cassette tapes are old technology and we know that at some point in the very near future supply will dry up as they are not in great demand.

“So we are currently scoping other options for the constabulary to ensure efficiency of interview recording and hopefully reducing costs in the long term.”

The plan has been put to the constabulary’s top officers, with the point made that early indications suggest the investment would lead to an “ongoing saving”.



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