Police could soon be using iPads on the beat in a bid to bring Cheshire Constabulary smack bang into the modern digital age.

Officers in Ellesmere Port and Warrington are already using the tablets to take witness statements, input information and check criminal records while out on patrol.

And soon the iPad could be as essential as handcuffs, batons and pepper spray - with every officer expected to be kitted out with a tablet as the digital revolution is rolled-out across Cheshire Constabulary.

Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer, has applied for a grant to pay for the tablets as part of his bid to drag the force out of the Victorian era.

The bid, submitted to the Home Office Police Innovation Fund, comes less than a week since The Chronicle exclusively revealed Mr Dwyer's plans to issue all officers with GPS tracking devices in a bid to monitor their movements while they are on the beat.

In an interview with The Chronicle today, Mr Dwyer would not disclose the sum applied for to fund the tablets, saying the details of the Innovation Fund were "confidential", but said the cost covered a "whole host" of technological advances for the force.

"The Chief Constable and I are keen to use technology to support our policing activities, because we have experienced reduced resources; reduced budgets. Technology, I think, helps us to use what limited resources we've got in the best ways we can," said Mr Dwyer.

"If you think about the fact I've got nearly 2,000 police officers and I want to give each and every one of them an iPad, it would be a lot of money.

"What we will be doing as part of the process is looking at whether we do need to give all operational officers an iPad or tablet, or whether they can actually share them."

Bosses hope the tablets, which may not all be iPads, will allow police to file reports from on the streets, allowing them to work more efficiently from a "remote" location, instead of constantly returning back to the station to fill in paperwork.

In April officers in Warrington were issued with 12 tablets in a pilot scheme, and more recently 12 tablets were handed out to officers in Ellesmere Port.

A review was made into police being able to use their own devices, with guidelines issued for how personal devices could be used within a policing context - but this was dismissed as there were too many "risks" of "rouge devices" to police systems, The Chronicle can reveal.

Mr Dwyer dismissed fears the iPads could be open to misuse; pose a security risk if stolen or leave the force's systems vulnerable to hackers and viruses - stating that a member of the public would not be able to access police databases if an officer lost or their iPad was stolen.

"There are lots of security steps in place, to ensure access to policing systems just isn't allowed," said Mr Dwyer.

Cheshire's new Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: "The bureaucracy we have created sometimes does tie [officers] to a desk.

"I want to see how we can use tablet type technology to keep officers out in the field, so that they put information in once; as some of our systems are very clunky."

Chief Constable Byrne admitted there were some practical issues with using the iPad on the beat - especially when officers were on bikes.

"A lot of our workforce are IT literate and we don't exploit that literacy. We need to look at how we can use technology more smartly," he said.