Poor technology at Police Scotland is giving the "bad guys" an edge and requires urgent investment, a chief officer has warned.

The force's deputy chief officer David Page was making the case for funding of around £200 million for new technology at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board in Edinburgh.

The board gave an initial endorsement to the force's digital, data, and ICT plans, with an outline business case due in the autumn for further approval.

Addressing members, Mr Page said: "What we try to be very clear on here is the risk of not doing this.

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"Our officers and our staff have been struggling for six years with poor technology. It makes their job more difficult, it gives the bad guys an edge over us and it means that we don't support the public as well as we should do.

"If we don't invest and we don't make this improvement that gap is only going to get worse, which means we're only going to fail to serve as we should do.

"That's with today's situation. If we look at 2026 and the type of investment that criminals are making, serious organised crime is making, and the way that they exploit technology at pace, we will fall rapidly behind the curve.

"So there's a real public interest in us getting this invested and getting this delivered. The opportunity here is huge for us.

"If we continue as we are now we will be a very expensive national asset that's not effective, so we really do need to invest and get this right."

Mr Page acknowledged that there was "always risk in an ICT project of this scale".

He added: "What we won't be doing is big bang-ing anything because a) that wouldn't work and b) we've got to balance anything we do in terms of change with the risk to our business as usual, which is protecting the public.

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"What we can't do is have the ship of police distracted by change and take our eye off the business-as-usual ball."

SPA chair Susan Deacon said there was a "clear endorsement of the direction of travel that has been set out before us".

She said: "On that basis I think we record the fact that this authority, that this board, is content to approve that as a direction of travel moving on to the next stage.

"I think we recognise the huge amount of work that's been done to get it to this stage and indeed how much more work is required to take it to the next stage."

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Currently Police Scotland's systems require officers to capture the same information several times, and fewer than 3,000 of its 17,000 officers have mobile devices to enable them to record data on the move.

Meanwhile a number of different systems continue to operate in different parts of the country after the £46 million i6 scheme aimed at replacing them failed in 2016.

The force says the changes would enable savings of up to £35.5 million each year by 2022.