A LONG-DELAYED £10 million plan to slash police officers’ desk time is finally almost in place.

In 2015, North Yorkshire Police announced it would invest millions of pounds in new technology that would would allow officers to spend more time on the streets and less time in the station, with Operational Mobile Working (OMW) tablet-style computers allowing them to complete paperwork on the move.

Speaking to The Press in December 2015, Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “I’m sure that by the end of 2016 we will be the cutting edge of any police service in the country. The IT for me is one of the big challenges. We said in 2015 we’d start to provide and see the kit, in 2016 the plans will be completed and we’ll start to see the benefits from it.”

However, in December 2016, The Press reported the project had been delayed by nine months due to changes introduced by the Government to public services networks (PSNP), which meant work had to start again on creating operating systems which could be used on the beat.

Now, a handful of OMWs are currently being tested in York and Scarborough, before the scheme is finally rolled out across the force.

A police spokesman said the testing had been “ongoing” throughout last year, checking the network, the software and the hardware, with “more than 40 officers” feeding back information to the project team.

Training for more officers started last month, and while the spokesman said the delays due to PSNP had been resolved, “technical issues can never be ruled out during complex technical projects”.

The spokesman said: “Due to the scale of the project and size of the organisation, this will continue for the next six months or so until all officers due to receive the technology are trained accordingly.

“During this time different mobile working functionality will be released allowing officers and PCSOs to do more and more work on the streets and not back at the station.”

Concerns about availability of mobile coverage in more rural areas of the region have also been addressed, but it is unclear whether issues about coverage have been resolved.

The spokesman said: “Around 2,000 signal tests have been carried out across the force area, including rural, semi-rural and urban areas. This information has been used to inform the project’s development.”

Superintendent Mike Walker said: “Technology such as Operational Mobile Working means officers can spend less time behind a desk and more time in the communities we serve.

“We’ve completed extensive testing, technical development and training as part of the project this year. It’s a huge project and I’m delighted with our achievements, as it will make a real difference to the way we provide policing across North Yorkshire.”

Another element of the investment is the MAUDS system - Mobile Assets Utilisation and Deployment - which uses satellite technology to record locations of resources on a virtual map, and the force confirmed that system is now live in all North Yorkshire Police vehicles.