The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has approved plans to “transform Police Scotland’s IT capabilities and develop the national infrastructure expected of a 21st century police service operating in the digital age”.

The SPA board reached its decision “following a thorough examination and discussion of an outline business case for investment in Police Scotland’s data, digital and ICT capability”.

It said the business case sets out a “route map for change, together with detailed plans for how the current ageing digital, data and ICT systems will be replaced and dramatically improved”.

The cost over nine years is estimated at £298m, compared with £90m “to simply maintain the existing outdated IT systems.

The plans will deliver improvements in phases, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) said in a statement, “beginning with the rollout of mobile devices to police officers across Scotland, making it simpler to access and share information and enabling police to spend more time in communities.”

It added: “The changes will transform the way the public and police communicate and will enhance Police Scotland’s ability to tackle and prevent crime.”

Speaking after the board meeting, Susan Deacon, Chair of the SPA said: “These plans will drive much needed strategic transformation and change which will ensure that policing in Scotland is fit for purpose and fit for the future.

“This is a robust piece of work, supported by a significant increase in capacity and capability within Police Scotland and by external expert advice and scrutiny. Lessons have also been learned from the experience of other large scale ICT programmes in Scotland and elsewhere.

“The SPA Board is fully supportive of the direction of travel and will now focus on working with Police Scotland and others to ensure that these much needed improvements are delivered effectively.”

However, the plans are dependent on funding discussions between the SPA and the Scottish Government.