Following the success of its Ask the Police iPhone app, PDMS has developed an Android version.

The innovative app, which was developed for the Police National Legal Database (PNLD), provides users with information on a wide variety of non-emergency policing issues, ranging from 'What is the law relating to clamping?' to 'I've knocked over an animal, do I have to report it?'

Free to download, the apps pull information from PNLD's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) portal database system (www.askthe.police.uk) which was developed by PDMS in 2005.

Based on a non-emergency call lasting on average 4 minutes, it is calculated that the FAQ service saves police call handlers over 400,000 hours a year, which equates to an estimated annual saving of £6 million.

The apps contain accurate, legally verified answers to over 700 of the questions most frequently asked by the public across England and Wales, with an additional 450 answers to questions relating to specific Police Forces.

Even since the launch of the non-emergency 101 number, the police continue to receive thousands of calls, which whilst important, are time consuming with most concerning routine aspects of criminal law and police procedures. Many of these questions will in the past have been repeated hundreds of times over - simply because members of the public did not have another route to the relevant information.  

The FAQ service runs on PDMS' FoundationsTM platform. Each police force has the facility to add local information, which can be viewed by selecting a specific force or individual location prior to accessing the question bank. Questions and answers are added and updated frequently and the 'Question of the Day' and 'Latest News' features provide topical information.

Should the information the user is seeking, not be included within the site, an 'ask a question' facility provides the opportunity to find the answer from the PNLD which could result in the Q and A being added to its content. The site has been designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, with alphabetical and subject listings, a comprehensive search facility, and the ability to rate each individual question in terms of usefulness.

The launch of the FAQ iPhone and Android apps are the latest of a number of new additions to the innovative FAQ project.  Other developments include the launch of Ask the Police Scotland (www.askthe.scottish.police.uk) and an API (application programming interface) which allows individual police forces to seamlessly integrate the FAQ portal into their own websites.

PDMS and PNLD have collaborated on a number of projects over the past decade.