A police officer has invested thousands of pounds of his own money to develop a mobile app to help officers on the frontline.
Paul Cooper, 30, from Greatford, was fed up of carrying text books around or rushing back to the station to log information on his computer that he decided to do something about it.
Two years ago, he set about designing his own app and now Pocket Sergeant is available to download for mobiles that support Google and Apple at a cost of £3.99.
Since its launch in the summer, the app has been downloaded more than 3,000 times and Paul has already received great feedback.
It is designed to help officers at every level from special constables and police community support officers to officers and sergeants.
He said: “The main thing I wanted to achieve with the app was help people and it is making a difference. All the hard work has been worthwhile.”
Everything on the app is designed to help officers deal with the day-to-day pressures of frontline policing.
Features include an A-Z list of criminal offences with descriptions of the offences and the powers the police can use, as well as the evidence they need to provide; a checklist section providing pointers of what to cover when taking witness statements; a reference library with codes of practice; a contacts list and a calendar.
The app is also pin-code protected and Paul sourced all the information himself for the app, which he said had “taken forever”.
It can also be used without a data connection, which was something Paul felt was important.
He said: “I wanted to build an app that people would have access to all the time. If they’re out in the sticks, like in rural Lincolnshire, they can refer to it at any time they need it.”
Paul said he had wanted to be a police officer since he was a child. He started out as a police community support officer and has now been a police officer for six years. He currently serves in Spalding having moved from Cleveland a year ago. He lives with his wife Linda and their young son in Greatford.
He said he had invested “thousands of pounds” of the family’s savings into the app.
Initial profits have already been reinvested into content updates on the app but he hopes to eventually receive some of his money back.
Using his own funds, Paul was able to get interest from a start-up app development company Sockmonkey Studios and with the help of directors Bob Makin and Darren Cuthbert, he was able to bring his idea - which started off as basic designs on his computer - to life.
He said his wife Linda, a radiographer, “initially thought I was mad but now I think she’s proud of what I’ve achieved”.
The app is proving popular not just with police officers but by security staff, as well as members of the public who have an interest in criminal law.
To find out more about the app or to download it visit www.pocketsergeant.co.uk.