Gloucestershire Police bought Blackberry smartphones to remain mobile
HUNDREDS of police officers will be given BlackBerrys so they can do their paperwork while on the beat.
Nearly 650 PCs and PCSOs across the county will be given the mobile phones to keep them on the streets.
Officers will use the phones to carry out paperwork and update logs, jobs previously carried out from the office.
It comes after the force closed and put up for sale 13 of its stations in a bid to hack £18 million from its budget.
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Katy Roberts, spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police, said: “641 BlackBerry devices are being issued across the county to PCs and PCSOs working in our Local Policing Areas.
“The devices will give officers access to the majority of the systems used in their work, allowing them more time on patrol and less time travelling to or working within police stations.
“This is part of our drive to increase the number of officers working in high- visibility roles.
“It will also reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency, thereby cutting overall policing costs.”
Police would not reveal the cost of the latest technology, but with new BlackBerry models currently on the market at about £300, the total cost could be as much as £190,000.
The project which has been four years in the planning, will be funded by the National Policing Improvement Agency.
It will pay for two thirds of the scheme, while the constabulary forks out for the rest from a fund earmarked four years ago.
PCSO Ken Bennett, who covers the Charlton Kings area, told a parish council meeting the improvements to technology would allow him to be out on the beat as often as possible.
He said: “Because of the loss of buildings and personnel, we want to ensure we will stay out in the community.
“It will not mean any major changes to procedure, but it will enable us to spend more time in the community without going back to the station to do the paperwork.
“It will keep frontline officers from going back and forward and give us instant access to databases.”
The procedure for lost or stolen phones would be in line with that of a lost radio.
The force would be able to stop it working as soon as it was reported missing and it would be password protected.