MORE Bolton bobbies have backed up claims that a new police IT system is getting in the way of their duties.

At Tonge with the Haulgh’s area forum on Wednesday, officers said that they wanted to be “out there” patrolling the area.

But they revealed that changes to the IT system meant that simple tasks now took up most of their time.

PC Paul Milligan said: “The system will improve things in the long run, but right now there are tasks that should take five minutes that can actually take up to two hours.

“I want to be patrolling but I don’t have the time any more – it’s out of my hands.”

The Bolton News reported on September 19 that officers at a Westhoughton neighbourhood forum told residents that getting to grips with the news computer system had “pulled” them from the streets.

Then, Sgt Paul Blackburn said: “We have not been able to provide the service that residents wanted this summer.”

The latest comments were made after Eileen Gaffney, chair of the Fusion Centre, raised concerns about an increase in vandalism and kids roaming around.

She told the officers that she called the police one night after seeing a group of young people on the roof of the children’s centre.

The police looked around the building, but left shortly after as they couldn’t see anything unusual.

The kids then returned and got back on to the roof.

PCSO Tom Burton said: “It sounds awful that they came round for five minutes and then left but I’ve had that happen before too.

“You get there, don’t see anything, and there’s just too much to do to stick around.

“We will always deal with anti-social behaviour, and it will always be important, but unfortunately we have to prioritise.”

Eileen also shared her frustration at not hearing anything from the police after she told them who had pinched the table and chairs from outside the centre.

One of the officers in attendance told her that the case was recent enough to still be in the system and someone from the force would deal with it soon.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “The safety of our communities will always be our number one priority.

“Our new system will allow us to continue providing the best possible service by streamlining policing processes and bringing GMP to the forefront of technology in policing.

“Some neighbourhood officers have been tasked to help with iOPS related administrative tasks.

“It will lead to many benefits, including an accurate record of data and analysis as well as better use of police resources.”