POLICE officers in East Renfrewshire will soon be kitted out with new mobile phones in a bid to reduce the amount of time they spend working in stations.

The devices, which will be rolled out in the area from Monday, October 14, will allow officers to check police systems, file statements and keep up to date with emails while working remotely.

A Police Scotland representative told East Renfrewshire councillors how the phones will replace officers’ notebooks and increase “visibility, productivity and pro-activity.”

“They can do everything they could previously do and significantly more,” he said.

“We want to keep officers in East Renfrewshire visible in the community they serve.

“It avoids that need to come back to the office to check and file reports etcetera.”

Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren described the introduction of the new phones as “a real culture change” for officers.

She said: “It might be different for the public to see officers sitting in a car on their phone.”

Ch Supt Hendren added that the force had discussed encouraging officers to sit in cafes or other public places.

Around 10,000 phones are being handed out to uniformed, community and specialist response officers across Scotland as part of a £21million project that has been part-funded by the Scottish Government.

The scheme is already up and running in some parts of the country, with devices rolled out to officers in Dundee, Perth and Kinross in June.

Officers in East Renfrewshire will be provided with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phone, as well as a battery pack, small printer and in-car charger.

Councillors were told the devices are “entirely secure” and can be “stunned and killed” if lost.

The devices have access to the Police National Computer system, removing the need to use radios to check information with operators.

Officers will also have access to Police Scotland’s command and control system and can type statements directly onto the device through the use of its digital notebook function Pronto, which will obtain an electronic signature from victims and witnesses.

There are also plans to use the phones to print and then issue fixed penalty notices.

When the scheme was announced, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said the new technology will enable officers to become “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help Police Scotland invest in new mobile technology, which is enabling officers to work in the heart of Scotland’s communities, providing reassurance and increasing their visibility.

“This technology is enabling officers to become even more agile and responsive, ensuring the service is better equipped to meet the modern-day demands upon it.”