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Police Scotland completes roll out of mobile notebook devices

Police Scotland has completed its £21m roll out of electronic notebooks which it claims have saved 400,000 officer hours since they were first introduced .

Roll-out of the Pronto devices began in September last year and now all 13 divisions of the force including specialist dog units and firearms teams are connected up.

Statements are now typed directly to the device and officers can now carry out their own checks which could previously only be done via the area control room. When investigating missing person enquiries, officers can now upload and share images immediately with fellow officers. 

The next step is for the devices to be upgraded with more applications.

The reduction in delays waiting for information or returning to stations to fill out statements has, according to Police Scotland, saved officers a total of 444,496 hours.

But the back office systems the mobile devices connect to are still in need of a major overhaul.

Despite being a national force Police Scotland had eight separate crime systems as a legacy from its former eight-force structure.

In December last year it was revealed that officers who attend domestic incidents and have been given the mobile notebooks, still had to upload the details manually onto 13 separate systems.   

In January this year the force revealed it needed an extra £70m to balance the books and carry out a backlog of repairs and maintenance. Audit reports revealed a crumbling estate and out-of-date ICT systems. 

Superintendent Craig Smith, of Police Scotland’s Digitally Enabled Policing Programme, said: "Mobile working for response, community officers and frontline specialist officers is a major milestone which is positively changing the operational policing approach in Scotland. 

“Our officers now have vital information at their fingertips meaning they can react quickly when dealing with incidents, searching for missing people who could be extremely vulnerable or investigating crimes. This piece of kit is revolutionising the way officers work and is helping to keep people safe. The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available,” he said.

David Crichton, Vice Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), said: “The introduction of mobile working was much needed and has brought real benefits to the police and the public by making the service more responsive, visible and efficient. Communities are better served and better protected as a result and the Authority is committed to making the case for continued investment in technology to ensure that policing in Scotland keeps pace with changing needs and demands‎."

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