POLICE in Inverclyde are dialling into top phone technology to free up more officers on the beat for longer — by using a new system called 'Pronto'.

Specialised devices are being rolled out across the district as part of a £21m national upgrade, consigning notebooks to the past, along with the need to return to the station to access computer records.

Officers can now note down handwritten witness statements on their screens and the Pronto system instantly turns them into typed text form — eliminating time consuming office paperwork.

They can also immediately tap into important information at scenes of incidents instead of having to wait to return to the office to complete certain tasks on desktop computers.

PC Laura Clark — part of a divisional training team — said: "Members of the public might become more aware of operational officers sitting in cafes, coffee shops or in their vehicles updating all of their paperwork on their devices.

"It cuts down on the amount of time they're having to be in the office to complete tasks."

Greenock-based PCs, sergeants and inspectors are being issued with the new kit which is being seen as key to delivering an enhanced service to the public and increased visibility in communities.

PCs Frazer Macdonald and Linda Arthur are among the first local officers to be using the tech and both agree that it is a 'fantastic' addition to their equipment.

PC Macdonald said: "It's a really good piece of hardware, and going forward the more software that is put on it will only benefit us even more.

PC Arthur said: "We will be working from the mobile devices in public places, providing a chance for members of the public and the police to engage."

Although the devices will be attached to the body armour of officers, they will not be used to record video footage.

Trainer PC Clark said: "As the project moves forward we will be adding more functionality to the devices as we receive feedback from officers, so it's a continual evolution and improvement.

"These devices also offer the ability for our colleagues in CID or our public protection units to access statements in real time, essentially as they're being taken.

"So if there was a serious crime ongoing, CID, who aren't necessarily out at the locus straight away, will be able to see the statements being taken.

"There have been some really positive results from that within the division very recently with serious crime, while police officers are still dealing with the complainer."

Inspector Julie MacDonald said: "Mobile working is positively changing the operational policing approach, allowing officers to work more effectively within communities."