A lack of modern technology is preventing Police Scotland from being anywhere near as efficient as it should be, according to a senior Scottish Police Federation (SPF) representative.
David Hamilton, SPF vice chairman, believes officers are spending too much time typing up notes manually when they should be targeting criminals. Police Scotland is one the last police forces in the UK to supply its workers with digital notebooks, he pointed out, adding that “both officers and the public are suffering from it”.
He said: “The wastage in time and efficiency is staggering. We are spending hours of time double and triple-keying information into crime systems when we should be investigating the crimes instead.
“Simply put, the Government started this project and they need to finish it. Having financial jitters at this stage is just not on.”
The need to invest in properly equipped officers is now critical, he explained, as he feels the prospect of further delays or cancellations will undermine the organisation’s ability to police and threatens to derail the Police Scotland ‘project’.
Iain Livingstone, Chief Constable of Police Scotland, said: “The officers and staff deserve better and it is, therefore, critical that as we build a sustainable police service, we give them the right equipment to do their jobs properly.”
Hamilton said that the public would be astonished to see how old technologies were being used by officers.
He added: “Smartphones and tablets have revolutionised modern life, with easy access to information, GPS-enabled apps and the seamless exchange of data, but when our members go to work, they put them in a locker, pick up a paper notebook and pen and go on duty.”
Having quick access to data is crucial in modern policing, and Hamilton added that handwritten notes were “out of date years before the single force began and it’s now almost laughable”.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Police Scotland’s plans for ICT must represent the best value and support the service’s wider plans for transformation set out in Policing 2026. The Government continues to engage with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to consider the plans in relation to the 2019-20 budget.”