Police officers should use iPads to free up their time for more crucial work, according to one of the candidates for the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Conservative hopeful Matthew Ellis claims trials by two police forces support his suggestion, although the idea has been dismissed as a “gimmick” by his Labour rival Joy Garner.

Technology has been tested by officers in Hampshire and Avon and Somerset in an attempt to speed up the statement-gathering process.

Matthew Ellis

“I wasn’t aware of the trials when I set out my ideas for policing here,” said Cllr Ellis. “But experience has shown me that being more ambitious with the use of technology should free up police to do what they were trained to do – fighting crime, being visible to the public and making Lichfield, Burntwood and rural communities across the district even safer.

“The Reports show that my plans to get 3,000 extra frontline police hours in communities every week are possible. In fact I’d want to be even more ambitious than that across the wider criminal justice system so that even more time is released to actual policing instead of being stuck behind desks.”

The report from Hampshire, which processed 500 statements using tablet computers, suggested more than 240 hours were saved, while the Avon and Somerset trial, which involved 326 statements, claimed using an electronic format from statement gathering to court proceedings saved 538 hours.

Cllr Ellis claims that with police in Staffordshire processing more than 120,000 statements each year, more than 3,000 hours could be freed up if technology is introduced.

“Even though both Government and Labour say policing budgets will shrink for some time to come, my proposals for Staffordshire would mean real opportunities for visible front line policing hours to be maintained and, in time, increased further,” he explained. “

People across Lichfield, Burntwood and the rural areas which make up so much of the district will have a clear choice in November’s PCC election. It will be about who can most effectively spend £200million of public money with the ideas, foresight and determination to free up police officers to do more policing.

“Simply campaigning to stop the cuts is not practical and anyway I’ve always believed that it’s not only how much money is spent on public services, but how effectively it’s used.”

Voters will go to the polls on November 15.


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

6 replies on “Police Commissioner candidate claims use of iPads will free up officers”

  1. Why would iPads free up time? If the notion that allowing officers to take statements in an electronic format in front of witnesses/victims and that information being forwarded automatically to a national police computer, surely any tablet device would suffice?

    There are tablets on the market for 1/2 the price for which you pay the Apple premium, some of them ‘more open’ to allow technology departments to develop applications to process statements.

    I’m not sure whether this shows Mr Ellis is technology aware or naive?

    It’s not just the physical cost of any device, it is supporting that device, developing for it and paying ongoing costs for communication services.

    Assuming police stations employ civilian staff, why couldn’t officers dictate a statement to be typed up at the next working day and signed? Dictation machines can be picked up for £60.

  2. iPads are a pain to write anything longer than a sentence on anyway. Really need something with a proper keyboard to touch-type.

  3. “my plans to get 3,000 extra frontline police hours in communities every week are possible”

    translates to

    “my plans take anything other than ‘frontline’ duties away from police officers and hand them to private firms like Serco, G4S and Capita who make vast profits out of public services paid for by the gullible tax payers”

    Want a Police force that serves SOCIETY not CORPORATIONS? Don’t vote for ANY Conservative politician, especially not this one.

  4. I agree with what Darryl has said completely. I work in in IT and I am fully aware of the hidden costs associated with such an idea. There is surely plenty of security concerns with such a device too. A £200 netbook would be much more useful rather than this fad of tablet devices.

    Damn conservatives!

  5. I think the idea of using “toys” for the police is an excellent idea PROVIDING the police get any profit and Mr. Ellis gets to pay any loss out of his own pocket – not on expenses.
    Has he ever used a “TOY” for a detailed report? Or has he only seen them used by others?
    Did he see the fiasco of the other hand held “Toys” that cost the tax payer millions of pounds?
    When ever a CHILD buys an electronic gadget they always make sure it can work with – communicate with – their friends gadgets at home and the other side of the world.
    The police do not seem to understand that concept – can they even communicate with the nearby desk?
    This is normally camouflaged by a comment such as – poor communication with other partners/agencies etc!!

  6. Is there anyone that still harbors the illusion that we have democracy.
    I see I can vote for a person I do not want or I can vote for a person I definitely do not want.
    A third box – “None of the above” would give people like me a voice.
    On the other hand I can stay at home and in effect vote for who ever gets in.
    Democracy – I don’t think so!

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