Highland and Islands police have been provided with high-tech mobile devices to enable them to access a wide range of police systems whilst off site performing operational duties.
Previously, officers could only carry out certain tasks by accessing the police station computer, but the mobile devices negate this need entirely, freeing up officers’ time.
The devices, part of the £21 million Mobile Working Project, are equipped with apps that allow officers to carry out checks and to file crime reports on the spot. Officers are also able to type statements directly to the device through its digital notebook function Pronto, which can record electronic signatures from victims and witnesses.
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Police Scotland said the smartphone-sized devices will enable officers to spend “more time in communities, dealing with incidents and supporting victims of crime”, and increasing their visibility.
Initially, the devices were introduced to Tayside in June and then in north east Scotland in July. Under the scheme, which is part funded by the Scottish Government’s capital budget, 10,000 devices will be rolled out to Police Scotland personnel by spring 2020.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, said: “I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help Police Scotland invest in new mobile technology, which is enabling officers to work in the heart of Scotland’s communities, providing reassurance and increasing their visibility. This technology is enabling officers to become even more agile and responsive, ensuring the service is better-equipped to meet the modern-day demands upon it.”
Chief Superintendent George Macdonald, Highland and Islands divisional commander, said: “Given the geography of the area, officers do incur significant travel time between calls and their stations, the mobile device will allow officers to be more visible in the community, spend more time on patrol and hopefully be more accessible within the areas they serve.
“Members of the public will see police officers operating their mobile device in public areas. It’s important they understand they are not using their personal telephone and that they are working, but be reassured they will always be available to offer help, advice or assistance if needed.”
Susan Deacon, chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: “This is a really important and much needed step forward. The introduction of mobile working will bring real benefits to the police and the public and will make the police service more responsive, visible and efficient.
“Continued investment in technology is vital to ensure that policing in Scotland keeps pace with changing needs and demands. Communities across Scotland will be better protected as a result of these changes.”