The impact of mobile technology on a UK police force and their knowledge sharing

The paper discusses an evaluation study that investigates the impact of mobile technology on a UK police force and on knowledge sharing processes. An empirical, ethnographic approach to the research was adopted, using a mixed method approach of focus groups, questionnaires, observational ‘work shadowing’ and interviews with a total of 42 staff involved in a trial of mobile technology. The findings from the various methods are consistent, suggesting that mobile technology has a positive impact on policing and knowledge sharing. The timeliness of information improved, increasing the availability of information for decision-making. Reductions in information overload were apparent due to mobile technology providing greater control over information. There was a positive impact on knowledge sharing in the course of operational duties. Information and knowledge could be shared more quickly with officers in the field; and mobile technology provided a new avenue for keeping each other up to date with events. The paper contributes towards an understanding of the upcoming concept of ‘mobile knowledge management’ and offers a set of recommendations to manage the possible long-term risk of mobile technology on knowledge sharing.