The traditional police notebook has long been synonymous with British policing.

Up and down the country, officers have relied on their trusty pad and pen to record details of crimes from petty thefts to murders.

However, technological advances mean they are becoming a thing of the past in Scotland as the country’s police force is now being equipped with digital mobile devices.

Police officers in Tayside were the first to trial the new equipment last summer, but it is now being used by response, community and specialist officers across all of Police Scotland’s 13 divisions.

The force estimates that the roll-out has freed up more than 400,000 hours of officer time in a year as it allows access to a range of police systems without the need to return to a station and log on to a computer.

Statements traditionally written by hand can also now be typed directly into a digital notebook - spelling the end of the image of the bobby on the beat with his notepad and pen.

Superintendent Craig Smith, of the force’s Digitally Enabled Policing Programme, described the roll-out as a “major milestone”.

“Mobile working for response, community officers and frontline specialist officers is positively changing the operational policing approach in Scotland,” he said.

“Our officers now have vital information at their fingertips meaning they can react quickly when dealing with incidents, searching for missing people who could be extremely vulnerable or investigating crimes.

“This piece of kit is revolutionising the way officers work and is helping to keep people safe.

“The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available.”

Police Scotland claim the ability to conduct checks and process administrative tasks on the go has saved officers a total of 444,496 hours over the last year.

This is said to have enabled officers to spend more time in the community dealing with incidents and working on crime prevention

Previously, when dealing with a crime, they would have had to return to base to record details of the incident on the appropriate systems and complete paperwork.

Now they can carry out checks which would previously have been done by the area control room and quickly share information, such as images of missing persons, with fellow officers.

PC Garrie Watson, of Tayside Division, has been using a device as part of his duties since last summer.

He said: “The introduction of mobile devices has been a real benefit which has ensured I am able to remain visible within communities and also conduct checks and process administrative tasks whilst out of the office.

“When attending a fraud involving bogus workmen I found having access to a range of police systems whilst at the incident was extremely useful. This allowed me to carry out checks on the persons and vehicles involved quickly and easily.

“A large part of my work involves liaising with partners, councillors and the public via email therefore having access to this facility whilst out of the office has been a great advantage.”

PC Watson added: “The device allows me to save time on a daily basis in various different ways. After compiling a witness statement this can now be electronically copied from Pronto into the Tayside Division system. This is a significant time saver when compared with the paper notebook which requires statements to be manually typed and processed.

“The ability to generate crime reports and access documents and emails whilst protecting a scene, at custody or on mobile patrol saves me time at the end of the day when I would typically access a computer to complete my paperwork.”

David Crichton, vice chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), said the introduction of mobile working was “much needed” and has brought “real benefits to the police and the public”.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf added: “I am very pleased to see that the investment in mobile technology has released considerable police officer time in just one year.

“This innovative technology is helping to transform policing and allows Scotland’s officers to increase their focus on engaging with the public and keeping our communities safe.”

The £21million Mobile Working Project was part funded by the Scottish Government’s capital budget allocation and included partnership working with BT, Motorola and Samsung.