NEARLY £300,000 is set to be spent on kitting out police officers in Warrington with iPads.
John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said the move is aimed at cutting red tape, in turn keeping more police on the street.
The money, secured via a grant from a Government ‘innovation fund’, will be spent on 250 tablets to be shared across Cheshire Police.
Mr Dwyer said: “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. If officers can use them on the street, it will enable them to update systems in real time, reducing bureaucracy.”
The outlay on the iPads was approved following a trial run in Warrington, and other parts of Cheshire.
Mr Dwyer said results had been ‘positive’, allowing police to access information quickly.
And police will now be allowed to use community services like schools and council buildings as ‘drop in centres’.
This will allow police who do not have an iPad to use computers and access the same information as colleagues who are using them, according to Mr Dwyer.
He added: “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 will see a positive impact in police visibility."
The move has been backed by bosses at Cheshire Police.
Dep Chf Con Janette McCormick said, "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 administrative duties, and that is being eliminated by the ability to update systems in the field using mobile devices.
"This grant will mean that we are able to broaden the programme to include more officers, providing a better value service to the public we serve."
Cheshire Police Federation has also supported the iPad funding, although it questioned how effectively information would be shared with partner agencies like the Crown Prosecution Service.