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Police to be given phones to tackle crime in £21m project

Officers will be handed smartphones to help file reports and carry out checks on the go using apps.

Phones: The £21m project will see 10,000 officers receive mobiles.

Around 10,000 police officers will be issued with mobile phones to help file reports and carry out checks using apps as part of a £21m project.

The devices, which will help officers connect to police systems whilst working remotely are expected to be in use to aid operational duties by spring 2020.

It will allow them to access the systems without the need to return to a police station and log on to a computer.

Previously, when officers dealt with a crime, they would have to return to base to record details of an incident on the appropriate systems and complete paperwork.

A roll-out of the mobile devices began last month in Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus, with the project now extending to the north east.

Chief superintendent Campbell Thomson said: “The introduction of mobile working is a huge milestone in the modernisation of policing which will positively support the community-based policing approach here in the north east of Scotland.

“It is exciting to see this transformation which will not only significantly contribute to the future of policing but also assist in delivering better outcomes for communities.

“Given the importance we place on partnership working, it also positions us well to further collaborate and integrate with partners in the use of digital technology in the years to come.”

The £21m Mobile Working Project was part funded by the Scottish Government’s capital budget allocation.

The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available.

Inspector Jon Millar, who has led the project for north east division, said the technology will help to make officers more visible in their communities.

He said: “Officers will have access to core operating systems from a mobile device whilst in the community, allowing them to respond to ongoing policing matters without having to return to offices to access and update relevant information.

“This will not only reduce the bureaucratic burden on an officer, but will allow quicker access to relevant information allowing an improved response within our communities.

“Giving officers mobile devices will make them more visible in the communities they serve, enabling them to work on crime prevention and community-based policing whether in the public, private or virtual space.

“Members of the public will see police officers operating their mobile device in public areas. If you see this, it is important to understand that officers are not using their personal telephone and that they are working.”

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help Police Scotland invest in new mobile technology, which will enable officers to work in the heart of Scotland’s communities, providing reassurance and increasing their visibility.

“By utilising updated technology, Scotland’s police service can become even more agile and responsive, ensuring they are better-equipped to meet the demands of a modern Scotland.

“Being able to access information at their fingertips will improve the ability of officers in the north east to react quickly to issues that they encounter while they carry out their duties, keeping people safe.”

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