Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2013

Hack Highlight #2: Mobile Data Terminal 2.0

Haje brought his knowledge and skills as an entrepreneur, a software developer, a writer, and a special constable to Hack the Police - and produced something extraordinary.

He's written about the design and the thought process that went into it in a blog post of his own: MDT 2.0.

What problem was he solving?

Haje tackled the issue of Mobile Data Terminals - often referred to as MDT.

These terminals are built into Police cars and offer a disappointingly '90s experience.

Police officers can use MDT to perform a small range of actions. They have access to some forms of police data from PNC (the Police National Computer) for running checks (ie. on IDs or car number plates), can receive jobs, and can type updates to their CAD (the emergency services' dispatching and incident management system).

Of course, nothing is smooth, so the mapping system uses an arcane and counter-intuitive selection of swipes and taps to move around, and the maps themselves are cluttered and difficult …

Hack Highlight #1: Secure evidence recording

This is the first in a series of blog posts where I'll be highlighting the hacks that came out of Hack the Police.
Tim Perry came to the hack with an open mind. He asked many people about where the opportunities were to build an app that would have the best impact on crime fighting and victim care - and then settled down to assemble a Secure Evidence Recorder.
Tim's app is a lightweight software alternative to taking paper notes, and waiting for a physical camera to arrive on scene to take photographs. It allows an officer to take their notes, photographs and video evidence with a mobile device - such as a smart-phone.
Some of the challenges of secure evidence recording are: Where do you store the data once it has been recorded?How do you show when and where that data was recorded?Does the data stay on the device?If so, will the device be seized as evidence?How do you make these actions quicker and easier than pen, paper, and physical camera? Tim's secure evidence recorder a…

Google Play Services with Android Studio

Edit: This post is extremely deprecated -- with prejudice! It was written in an era when Google Play Services were not well integrated with Android Studio project work, and Android Studio itself was in its infancy.

This is a very quick guide to incorporating Google Play Services with your new Android Studio project.

Edit: [16:20 22/05/2013] I'll investigate the runtime NoClassDefFound error reported in the comments, and follow up later!

Edit: [23:17 27/05/2013] I'm coming to the conclusion that - as many have already pointed out - you really do need to include the entire library project in your solution. I'll post an update once I've fully tested this. 

In the meantime, please consider the advice below to be deprecated!

The first thing to say is: I fully expect the advice and guidance about how to work in Android Studio to change over time. Android Studio is in early access preview right now, and I'll bet my bottom dollar (is that a thing?) that over time it becomes m…

We hacked the Police!

Over the weekend of the 27th and 28th, the Metropolitan Police hosted the first UK policing hackathon, Hack the Police!at Google's Campus London.

hackathon is an event for software developers - who compete over a weekend to create cool new applications ('hacks'), and enter them in categories to win prizes.

In my capacity as special constable and software developer, I was privileged enough to be co-running the event with some extraordinary people from a group called the Commissioner's 100A/Sgt Neil Beet, A/Sgt Dave Weir, PC Rory Geoghegan, and Insp Tor Garnett - all of whom put themselves on the line for this event. Neil invested a staggering amount of his personal time to make it happen, and it was worth it!

When the Commissioner's 100 posted a short note on the Metropolitan Police intranet, asking for support and ideas for apps that could help people or save the police service time and money, the response was overwhelming. Hundreds of emails came through in th…