Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Blackberry keeps bobbies on the beat

Police will soon be able to spend less time paper shuffling in the office and more time out on the beat with the aid of new technology, it emerged today.

More than 600 South Yorkshire Police officers will be handed a BlackBerry equipped with an application developed by Vodafone and Airpoint which will enable them to access records on the move.

The technology imports data direct from the Police National Computer and could put an end to the hours of paperwork officers have to complete as they will be able to access real-time police records, identify people, vehicles and locations and can enter details of "Stop and Account", where an individual is stopped but not searched.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said more than 855 working days were wasted last year due to administration demands and correcting mistakes.

Sergeant Simon Davies of South Yorkshire Police said: "We have been looking at ways to streamline the way we work as our processes are either paper-based or rely on IT systems only accessible in the station.

"Enabling our officers to access key information on the move is a major step forward and the community will benefit from a more visible force continually patrolling the neighbourhoods."

The BlackBerry devices, which will be provided by Vodafone, will be supplied to officers in South Yorkshire in October this year.