FRONT-LINE police officers in Uttoxeter will receive free iPads in a bid to claim back thousands of extra hours.
Matthew Ellis, the Conservative candidate for Staffordshire’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), has welcomed news that technology trials in two UK Police Force areas will see thousands of extra police hours freed up for front line policing across Staffordshire.
Official reports on technology trials by Hampshire and Avon and Somerset police forces have backed the Tory candidate’s claim that using iPads would release thousands more police officer hours.
Now Mr Ellis says his priority is to use every means possible to get police officers back into the community and visible to local people, with fewer being burdened by clumsy processes and top-heavy bureaucracy.
He said: “I wasn’t aware of the trials when I set out my ideas for policing here but experience has shown me that being more ambitious with the use of technology should free up police to do what they were trained to do — fighting crime, being visible to the public and making Uttoxeter and rural communities across the area even safer.
“The reports show that my plans to get 3,000 extra frontline police hours in communities every week are possible.
“In fact I’d want to be even more ambitious than that across the wider criminal justice system so that even more time is released to actual policing instead of being stuck behind desks.”
The two pilots looked at different elements of the policing process. In Hampshire, 500 statements were processed using iPad type devices including witnesses signing the screen rather than a paper version. Actually taking the 500 witness statements saved 125 hours with a further reduction of 83 hours admin time and 33 hours more saved in ‘handovers’.
Avon and Somerset’s model involved 326 statements with 81 hours saved in taking the statements, 53 hours less time in handing over and a further 404 hours saved in using electronic format for the court.
Police in Staffordshire process in excess of 120,000 statements each year as well as many thousands of incident reports. The 120,000 statements alone equates to more than 3,000 hours freed up each week based on the figures.
Policing in Uttoxeter has come under the spotlight in the last month after the Advertiser reported it is ‘crumbling’ under the weight of staff cuts and poor management — with officers from Burton being forced to cover the town to compensate for a minimal or non-existent police presence.
The police whistleblower revealed between zero and three officers were holding the fort in Uttoxeter, stating previously the town had as many as four or five constables and a sergeant.
The PCC elections will be held on November 15.