Police officers in the Lothians and Scottish Borders are now able to spend more time in the communities they serve thanks to new technology.
Community and Response officers are being equipped with mobile devices which enables them to deal with incidents, engage with members of the public, support victims and focus on crime prevention.
Thanks to the Samsung Note 9 devices, officers no longer have to return the police station to carry out checks or complete paperwork.
The mobile devices also enable officers to carry out checks and file crime reports. Officers can also type statements directly on to the device through its digital notebook function Pronto which obtains an electronic signature from victims and witnesses.
Chief Superintendent, John McKenzie, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said: “The introduction of Mobile Working brings many benefits to our officers and to the communities we serve. Officers are now able to spend more time on patrol which will increase their visibility.
“Mobile Working also brings increased efficiency because officers no longer have to return to police stations to complete administrative tasks or file crime reports.
“Members of the public will see police officers operating their mobile device in public areas and at incidents. It is important to understand they are not using their personal telephone and that they are working - but be reassured officers will always be available to help or provide advice if needed.”
Susan Deacon, chairwoman 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.”
Sean O’Brien, BT’s client director for Police Scotland said: “We’re pleased to be leading this project, bringing in our EE mobile network – the largest 4G network in the UK – and our unrivalled resources to help Police Scotland transform the way they work.
“By helping our customers take advantage of BT’s investments in innovations and networking, including our 5G network, which went live in May in Scotland, we’ll see opportunities we couldn’t imagine ten years ago come into our lives.”
Fergus Mayne, country manager, UK & Ireland at Motorola Solutions, said: “The Pronto mobile application replaces the paper notebook and modernises police workflows by giving them access to databases and tools on their mobile device while on the beat. It allows police officers to save time doing paperwork back at the station and instead spend more time in their communities.
“We are pleased to be a long-standing partner for Police Scotland and to be able to support them in their use and adoption of mobile police technology.”
The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased that Scottish Government capital investment is able to support the introduction of this technology and I’m delighted to see its roll-out in the Lothian and Borders area.
“Being able to access information at their fingertips means officers can react promptly to a range of issues, so they can spend more time working at the heart of communities, providing reassurance to members of the public.”
Last year, Police Scotland produced a business case for a major investment in digital, data and ICT over 10 years to modernise the service. The proposed investment would also generate savings and public service improvements for the wider criminal justice system.
The devices were first introduced in Tayside in June this year and they were subsequently introduced in the North East in July.