The Isle of Man Constabulary is seeking to develop its use of technology to help neighbourhood police officers spend more time on patrol and less time in the office.
The Manx force is already leading the way in terms of harnessing social media to improve interaction with members of the public, combat crime and enhance community safety.
The focus is now on driving forward greater efficiencies by providing more information and services online. The aim is to cut down on administrative functions and ensure that time and resources can be reinvested where they are needed most.
The Constabulary currently uses channels such as Facebook and Twitter for a range of purposes, including issuing appeals for witnesses and providing updates about road traffic issues.
The move into social media has been well received by Island residents, with more than 7,000 people now accessing these services on a regular basis.
Further web-based developments are in the pipeline and it is hoped that in future tasks such as filling in firearms licence application forms can be completed online.
The intention is to free up some of the time currently spent dealing with enquiries at police station public counters or via the telephone.
Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘With the reduction in contact points from the necessary but regrettable closure of two police stations, the Constabulary has looked at new ways of improving engagement with the local community. The use of social media continues to play an important part in our overall strategy and the public feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.’
The Constabulary is also working towards becoming a significant partner in the ‘mobile government’ project, which is aimed at assisting staff who work outside to remain in the field as much as possible.
For example, in future police officers will be able to complete crime and road traffic reports at the scene, resulting in more time being spent on patrol and less behind a desk.
Minister Watterson said: ‘These measures will hopefully serve to strengthen the Constabulary’s already excellent relationship with the Manx public. Almost 90% of people surveyed in the past year have expressed their satisfaction with the service provided by the police, which is an outstanding achievement. We will continue to look at innovative new ways of working to ensure this high level of performance is maintained.’