CUMBRIA Police is marking the end of an era with the announcement that bobbies on the beat will soon be using electronic smart devices instead of paper notebooks.

Around 1,500 officers, PCSOs and Special Constables will be given a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, in a move the force says will cut down on paperwork and improve officer efficiency.

“Unfortunately we’re going to be reducing officer numbers in the future,” said Temporary Assistant Chief Constable (T/ACC) Steve Johnson.

“We’re trying to prepare for that day where every minute of an officer’s day has to be productive time.”

The devices will replace pocket notebooks and digitise common policing processes, meaning officers can complete some procedures without having to return to a station.

T/ACC Johnson said that officers currently have seven or eight processes to follow when dealing with incidents.

“This means they might have to enter data as much as four times on four bits of paper," he explained.

“This way they can put the details in once and use it many times – it’s incredibly efficient.”

The force has invested £1.8 million into ‘mobile and digital working’ over the next three years, most of which has gone into purchasing the smart devices, at a cost of around £1.5million.

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The money has been provided by Cumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes and the Home Office Innovation Fund.

T/ACC Johnson said the devices were “an investment made now for long-term benefit.

“The savings come in many parts – the most important one is in officer time, but of course it also means we’ll no longer have to use the stacks of paper we do at the moment.”

The launch of the devices will start on April 27, but a user group of more than 50 officers and staff are already acting as a pilot group.

Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes said: “It is no secret that the funding of police services locally and nationally faces many challenges ahead, and it is only by transforming how we deliver those services that the savings can be made whilst keeping our communities safe.”