BOBBIES on the beat will be using tablet computers to do paperwork in the street as part of cost-cutting measures by Cambridgeshire Police.

Since May, police officers in Huntingdon have been involved in a "slates trial", making use of the technology to record crime and take statements while out and about instead of having to return to the station.

About 25 officers have been equipped with the tablets, which run on Microsoft Windows 8 and can be used for various tasks, including accessing information about vehicles in seconds, meaning drivers can be fined on the spot for having no insurance or MOTs.

Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Simon Parr said the early results had seen police saving five to six hours a week in travel time, meaning they remained on the beat for longer. The tablets have the potential to save up to 10 hours a week.

The trial, due to be extended to 100 officers over the next two to three months, is part of a drive to maximise the use of technology and become a paperless force in two years.

In Cambridgeshire, people will be able to use the internet to report a crime, pass on intelligence, keep track of progress on an investigation and access updates on whether offenders have been charged.

It is also hoped people will use Skype to talk to police rather than visit a police station.

Mr Parr said the force was facing a budget shortfall of £25million over the next four years and use of technology would save money by reducing the "head count" in back office staff.

"We spend a lot of money employing people doing really valuable work," he said. "This is a different way of doing this. We will be using software to make it happen automatically."

He said staff who would ultimately be left without a job had been involved in implementing the new regime.

"It's an amazing ask - build me a process which does not involve you. People are designing out their own jobs for the good of the people we serve."

Mr Parr said the changes would be brought in over the next two years but he did not know how many staff would be affected.