Mobile phone technology roll out begins in Scotland

Police officers in Dundee, Perth, Kinross and Angus will be among the first in Scotland to start using mobile devices as part of their operational duties.

Officers will be able to access a wide range of police systems while out on duty without the requirement to return to a police station and log on to a computer. This means that officers will be able to spend more time working within the community, dealing with incidents, supporting victims and focusing on crime prevention.

The mobiles will provide apps enabling officers to carry out checks and file crime reports. Officers will also be able to 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.

The £21m Mobile Working Project, which was part funded by the Scottish Government’s capital budget allocation, will see approximately 10,000 of Police Scotland’s uniformed officers issued with mobile devices by Spring 2020. The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said, “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help Police Scotland invest in this new technology, which will enable officers to work in the heart of Scotland’s communities, providing reassurance and increasing their visibility.

“By utilising updated technology, Scotland’s police service can become even more agile and responsive, ensuring they are better-equipped to meet the demands of a modern Scotland. Being able to access information at their fingertips will enhance officers’ ability to react quickly to issues that they encounter while out on the beat, keeping people safe.”

David Wallace, BT’s Public Sector Director in Scotland and Chair of the BT board in Scotland, said, “We’re pleased to be leading this project, bringing in our EE mobile network – the largest 4G network in the UK – and our unrivalled resources to help Police Scotland transform the way they work. By helping our customers take advantage of BT’s investments in innovations and networking, including our launch of 5G in Scotland, we’ll see opportunities we couldn’t imagine 10 years ago come into our lives.”

Last year, Police Scotland produced a business case for a major investment in digital, data and ICT over 10 years to modernise the service. The proposed investment would also generate savings and public service improvements for the wider criminal justice system.