Knutsford GuardianBack on beat thanks to 21st Century tech? (From Knutsford Guardian)

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Back on beat thanks to 21st Century tech?

Knutsford Guardian: Back on beat thanks to 21st Century tech? Back on beat thanks to 21st Century tech?

POLICE officers in Cheshire could soon be kitted out with iPads if a bid to get a six-figure sum of public money is successful.

John Dwyer, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, has requested cash from a Government police pot called the ‘innovation fund’.

However, Mr Dwyer’s office and Cheshire Police refused to say how much money has been bid for, but confirmed it was at least £100,000.

If approved, frontline officers will get iPads to use when responding to incidents.

Bosses hope it will reduce the need to return to police stations and make tasks like taking witness statements more efficient.

Margaret Ollerenshaw, deputy police and crime commissioner, said: “The commissioner pledged to continue embracing advances in technology.

“He submitted a bid to the innovation fund to help support the rollout of a mobile data solution, once the current pilot of mobile devices has been evaluated.

“The tablets will be used by frontline officers to help them in their day-to-day duties and enable them to spend more time patrolling Cheshire’s communities.”

Temporary deputy chief constable Janette McCormick, from Cheshire Police, said: “We have been testing out the use of iPads and other mobile devices in Warrington.

“This is part of our efforts to make sure neighbourhood officers remain in the community rather than returning to police stations to complete paperwork.

“An innovation funding bid has been made to the Government to fund the devices.

“We do not know if that bid has been successful at this stage.”

An answer is expected by the end of the month.

Simon Roberts, chairman of Cheshire Police Federation, welcomed the bid but raised questions over how effective using iPads would be.

He said: “Police officers would love to be able to do more work out of the station.

“If the technology is usable, then fine. How IT is used is a huge issue in the police, but the principle is great.

“If a police officer is arresting someone, it’s ok to do a statement on an iPad, and it’s fine for police, but sharing it with other agencies like the courts and probation service, is where it becomes more difficult.”

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