SMARTPHONE-using police officers could soon be seen in coffee shops and libraries.
The policemen and women are being equipped with the latest hi-tech equipment, like the phones and tablet computers, to enable them to stay connected while they are out on the beat around Bognor Regis.
Inspector Marc Clothier said the arrival of the technology would help his officers carry out their jobs better and spend more time in public.
“We will be away from the police station and have the information we need at our fingertips.
“Officers will be using their mobile phones while they are sitting in Costa Coffee or the local libraries. That has got to be a good thing.
“In the future, I would encourage my staff to be out there and engaging with the public in that way,” he said.
The mass of data instantly to hand contrasted with the traditional restrictions on policing which saw officers having to journey back and forth to the police station to find out facts about individuals and situations.
Some police stations run by Sussex Police are set to close as a result of cutbacks and changes in the way people contact the police.
But the Bognor police station – open 10am-2pm and 3-6pm weekdays – is staying open in London Road.
Insp Clothier told the joint western Arun area committee last Wednesday he was enthusiastic about the difference the mobile technology would make to policing.
“We are on the cusp of rolling out really high-end technology to front line officers,” he said.
The impact would be seen on responses to 999 calls.
The details were currently taken by call centre staff who relayed it to officers.
Those officers then had to take many of the same details when they attended the scene and enter it on the computer system for a second time on their return to the police station.
But the new equipment would remove the need for that duplication and give the officers immediate access to all the available intelligence about an incident.
“The police will be able to attend the scene and have much better information and know what has been going on.
It will also allow them to capture information and evidence,” he said.
“This will allow our officers to have access to the right technology to do their jobs.”