MOVES to introduce new equipment which allows police officers to work without having to go into the office will not lead to station closures in East Lothian, a police chief has pledged.

A new £12million national scheme to replace traditional notebooks with smartphone-style Samsung Note 9 devices is about to be rolled out in East Lothian.

The move will mean more officers will be out in communities as they can file reports and carry out computer checks while on patrol.

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Police Scotland’s Lothian and Scottish Borders divisional commander, told a meeting of East Lothian’s police, fire and community safety scrutiny committee that people would see more police on the streets in the coming weeks as the new policy came in.

And he said: “I will be encouraging officers to be out and about more so they can be approached by members of the public. The changes will be noticeable in the next two weeks.”

Councillor Jeremy Findlay asked: “While the new mobile working unit will see a higher visibility of police officers, can you give a reassurance it is not a first stage in the closure of police stations?”

Chief Superintendent McKenzie told the committee: “Absolutely it is not.

“If I go out and speak to cops they complain to me they can’t get out among the public enough; I speak to members of the public who complain they do not see a cop anymore on local streets.

“This is simply a modernisation of how police officers will work. I have not spoken to an officer in Scotland who does not love this.

“It will not close stations – officers will always have a base.”

The investment in the new smartphone devices was announced last month and is being rolled out across the country.

The devices will be accessed using a biometric fingerprint scanner unique to the officer it belongs to and can be remotely “killed” if it is lost or stolen.

Chief Superintendent McKenzie said: “Officers in East Lothian will be able to work out of a school or council building, a local cafe or sit in their car, out in the community, and that is what I will be advocating.”