British cops could use voice recognition tech on streets

The Home Office is considering using voice technology to cut down the amount of time the police spend filling in endless forms when they stop and search people.

David Hanson, minister of state at the Home Office, was answering a question from Liberal Democrat Christopher Huhne. Huhne welcomed the Home Office’s plan to give personal digital assistants (PDAs) to British police to cut down on paperwork.

Hanson said that the Stockport police will get their hand held devices in the next week and they will save an average of 30 minutes per shift for constables who won’t have to go back to a police station to file their forms.

Huhne asked the minister what actions have been taken to introduce voice recognition technology.  Hanson said the Home Office was investigating how it can develop the use of modern tech to reduce paperwork.

“There is more that we can do, we have an appetite to do it, and I am confident that that will help support police officers to be more efficient and to reduce the unnecessary paperwork that is being undertaken.”

Voice recognition technology has its drawbacks and probably wouldn’t be that effective on the street anyway. Even when it is trained it has an annoying habit of interpreting what you say in a rather disconcerting manner.  That could lead to some interesting cases in court where the voice recognition output doesn’t exactly match the memory of either the cop or the candidate for clink.