Two Welsh police forces have been awarded £837,000 to develop an app that can send witness statements from rural areas, eliminating the need for police officers to make time-consuming trips back to the station to file paperwork.

The app, which will be developed and used by Gwent Police force and South Wales Police, will allow officers to record video or audio statements via a smartphone or tablet and upload them directly to servers at the station.

It is hoped that the mobile software will improve information sharing across the two polices forces, while also freeing up officers so they can spend more time on patrol.

Gwent Police added that the app will improve the quality of evidence, allow officers to be better informed before they arrive at a crime scene and let the public monitor the progress of a criminal report and incidents of anti-social behaviour.

An O2 study out earlier this year revealed that the average police officer loses 193 hours of productivity each year because of a lack of connectivity and poor access to technology.

The money is being awarded through the Home Office innovation fund, which is offering police forces across the UK up to £50 million in grants for technology-related projects.

Other Gwent Police technology related projects to receive funding include: the Firearms Licensing Digital Transformation project (£657,000); the Minerva Project (£498,000) and the National Rural Crime Network (£39,200). 

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "This funding is truly fantastic news and I would like to congratulate everyone who brought their new and innovative ideas to the table and who worked so hard on making these range of exciting bids a reality."

Earlier this year London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launched a pilot project that involved police officers wearing body cameras in a bid to boost transparency and accelerate convictions.