Bobbies to be given the ‘Big Brother’ treatment

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ALL South Yorkshire police officers are to be tagged with trackers - in a ‘Big Brother’ move which means bosses will know their movements every minute of their shifts.

Police chiefs want all officers’ radios to be fitted with tracker devices by the end of October.

The aim is that incidents which do not require specialist teams can be assigned to the officer nearest the crime.

Neil Bowles, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, admitted: “It is like Big Brother is watching you.

“But for safety reasons and efficiency, in light of funding cuts and reduced police officer numbers, we have to go down this technological avenue to allow jobs to be assigned to the right person.”

The force carried out a trial in Doncaster earlier this year and is now rolling out the scheme across the county.

Bosses say the aim is to make more efficient use of officers, with staff numbers set to drop because of £41 million of funding cuts.

They admit they will be able to use the trackers to trace the movements of all officers, or as a log of where they have been, but stress the technology is not being introduced to catch officers out.

Supt Jason Harwin, overseeing the project said: “Officers have nothing to worry about - it’s not to catch them out.

“If anyone is doing anything they shouldn’t be there are means now to discover that. But equally it will make it easier to recognise all those officers doing a good job.”

Supt Harwin said the ‘automatic resource location system’ was aimed at improving the speed at which officers respond to incidents, by assigning jobs to those who are already in the right locality to take the call.

He added: “Staff numbers have to reduce over the next couple of years.”