New mobile phones for police officers in East Renfrewshire

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Police officers in East Renfrewshire will soon be kitted out with new mobile phones as part of a scheme to cut down station working.

The devices – which will be rolled out in the area from October 14 – will allow officers to check police systems, file statements and keep up to date with emails while working remotely.

A Police Scotland representative told East Renfrewshire councillors how the phones will replace officers’ notebooks and increase “visibility, productivity and pro-activity”.

“They can do everything they could previously do and significantly more,” he said.

“We want to keep officers in East Renfrewshire visible in the community they serve. It avoids that need to come back to the office to check and file reports etc.”

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren added: “It’s a real culture change for us.

“It might be different for the public to see officers sitting in a car on their phone.”

She said the force had discussed encouraging officers to sit in cafes or other public places.

Around 10,000 phones are being handed out to uniformed, community and specialist response officers across Scotland. It is a £21million project, which has been part funded by the Scottish Government.

The scheme has already started in other parts of the country, with devices rolled out in Dundee, Perth and Kinross in June.

Officers will receive a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. They will also be provided with a battery pack, small printer and in car charger.

In response to questions from the councillors, an inspector revealed the devices are “entirely secure” and can be “stunned and killed” if lost.

The devices have access to the Police National Computer system, removing the need to use radios to check information with operators.

They will also have access to Police Scotland’s command and control system and officers can type statements directly on to the device through the use of its digital notebook function Pronto, which will obtain an electronic signature from victims and witnesses.

There are plans to use the phones to print and then issue fixed penalty notices.

When the scheme was announced, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said: “I am 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.”