HALTON bobbies are to spend less time in police stations and more time on the beat, thanks to a successful bid for funding to boost the amount of technology currently available to officers.

Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer submitted a bid to the Innovation Fund for a grant to help the force to access vital systems either on the go or in specific buildings, enabling officers to stay out on the beat.

Some of the funding will be used to provide 250 mobile tablet devices, which will be shared across the constabulary.

John Dwyer said: "It’s great news that this bid has been successful.

"I want to ensure that the Constabulary keep their fingers on the technological pulse, enabling them to work in the most efficient way providing an effective police service for everyone in Cheshire.

"The growth in the use of tablets, such as iPads and similar devices has been significant. People use them on a daily basis either at home or in a work environment.

"If officers can use them on the street, it will enable them to update systems in ‘real time’, reducing bureaucracy.

"A pilot has been run in the county, to observe how the tablets will help increase officer visibility, whilst at the same time allowing them to complete their day to day tasks. The results so far have been positive as information and intelligence is available at an officer’s fingertips."

The bid also specified that ‘drop in centres’ would be developed enabling officers who don’t have the tablet devices, the opportunity to access the same systems in partnership building (e.g. councils, schools and housing associations).

"This way of working is designed to ensure officers are spending most of their time on the beat. By embracing the digital age I’m sure the public of Cheshire will see a positive impact in police visibility."

Deputy Chief Constable, Janette McCormick said, "This is terrific news and will ensure we can continue to meet our financial targets in the challenging economic conditions we face.

"The introduction of our agile working programme is proving very effective in meeting the operational needs of our officers and using their time more effectively.

"We estimate that it can use up to an hour of an officer’s day to return to the station for admin duties, and that is being eliminated by the ability to update systems ‘in the field’ using mobile devices.