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French Police Automate Weapon Management With RFID

The Marseille Police Force has deployed STid's Be-Weapon RFID technology at two of its weapon-storage sites, thereby speeding up the process of retrieving weapons and ensuring that no inventory goes missing or requires maintenance.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 02, 2017

France's Marseille Police Force is managing its officers' weapons and equipment via an RFID-based system from STid, known as Be-Weapon. The solution was launched in March 2017, first at the police force's Plombières pilot site, then at a second location in Longchamp and a third in the Salengro police department.

The technology employs high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) passive RFID technology to track which weapons and equipment are borrowed by each police officer, where and when this occurs, and when those items are returned. The system enables the department to more efficiently locate and loan weapons to its officers, while also creating a history of each item's use, and to have an alerting system in place if a weapon is not returned or requires maintenance.

The system is part of the city's initiative launched in 2015 by the Marseille City Council, with the aim of streamlining policing operations and ensuring the security of individuals and assets within municipal police weapon storage facilities. Marseille, the second largest city in France, is implementing its initiative in the public-safety and crime-prevention sectors, in partnership strategy with the state, the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and all those responsible for citizens' safety, says Caroline Pozmentier, Marseille's deputy mayor and a delegate of the city's Safety and Crime Prevention agency.

Caroline Pozmentier
Prior to installing the STid technology, the police force employed a manual, paper-based tracking system. An officer assigned to oversee the weapon storage lockers collected weapons for officers as requested, then used pen and paper to manually record the details. This routine, however, was time-consuming and error-prone, and records or assets could often be misplaced.

Therefore, says Marc Labouz, the City of Marseille's head of security, the department began searching for a solution as part of the streamlining initiative. The city council issued a tender for the development of a computerized tracking system, he recalls, in order to enable the police force to accurately log the movements of weapons and other security equipment into and out of the stores.

There were a number of challenges to overcome. Since 2012, Labouz says, the police force's numbers have almost doubled (to 420 officers), leading to an increase in the volume of equipment to be managed and the number of visits to the weapons stores. "We needed to find ways of optimizing equipment flows and people flows," he states, "so that our officers could get out to work in the field as quickly as possible."

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