Police slash paperwork with mobiles

Red tape cut twenty fold

Red tape cut twenty fold

Beat bobbies across the UK will be able to use mobile devices to slash paperwork following street searches from next week.

The Home Office says that red tape following stop and searches has been cut from about 20 minutes to 60 seconds by one force piloting the new approach.

Following the success of trials, carried out in Birmingham and other areas, the changes to stop and search policy will be rolled out nationwide from next week.

The changes see lengthy stop and search forms scrapped and handheld computers used to enter only the ethnicity of the person stopped.

The overhaul was brought in on the back of recommendations in Sir Ronnie Flanagan's Review of Policing, which aims to save seven million hours of policing time – an equivalent of 3,500 extra police officers on the streets.

Forces nationwide are due to have 30,000 mobile devices by March 2010 and CIO of the National Policing Improvement Agency Richard Earland recently told silicon.com that handheld devices would transform frontline policing within three years.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in a statement: "This is a major step towards delivering the recommendations of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's report on cutting red tape.

"I am determined to support our police officers so that they spend more time out on your streets, fighting the crimes and issues that matter to you locally."