Frustrated police officers in Staffordshire are increasingly spending less time out on the beat - despite the introduction of new technology designed to help them work remotely.
"Unrecognisable" demands have left officers struggling to find time to spend with victims of crime or out on patrol, police chiefs have revealed.
Meanwhile, the Staffordshire Police Federation has admitted that the pace of change following the issuing of mobile tablets to officers has been "slow and at times difficult" for the force.
Officers spent a total of 957,394 hours out on patrol between October 2016 and September this year – down from 965,611 the year before, latest figures from Staffordshire Police have revealed.
This means bobbies are spending 63 per cent of their time at work out in their communities.
It comes as police chiefs stressed that their officers were faced with unprecedented demand for their services.
Now a review has been carried out to try to find out why bobbies are not more visible in their communities. It called for senior officers to stress the importance of officers being visible and identifying "remote deployment locations" for police community support officers.
Police Federation leaders say officers are currently having to use different IT systems which makes working remotely "challenging." It comes as global firm Boeing has signed a £110 million contract to take over the force's IT system - which is predicted to save up to £1 million a year.
Staffordshire Police Federation chairman Keith Jervis said: "Police officers now use mobile tablets to do some of their work, but the pace of change has been slow and at times difficult.
"Staffordshire Police use many different computer systems to record crime, investigate missing persons and log intelligence and Boeing has come in to provide a 'common policing platform' where all systems will be compatible. But this has not been achieved yet.
"Therefore police officers are still having to come to police stations to carry out tasks such as CPS file building and crime reports."
Staffordshire Police has held 1,239 public meetings over the last 12 months, including 472 drop-in sessions, 233 one-to-one surgeries, 124 community group meetings and 70 residents' association meetings, said a spokesman.
The force employed 2,156 police officers and 238 PCSOs in 2010. But by last year the number of police officers had dropped to 1,670.
Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: "At public meetings people quite rightly ask why they see less coppers on the street. By the end of these meetings they understand the scale of the work the police do nationally and locally. People say 'I had absolutely no idea police did so much' but they expect a service."
Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: "We need to be more creative about how we get out there and public meetings are an important method of getting out and about and meeting members of the public. Overall I am confident about how we engage and that we have contact with members of the public."
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Adderley said the demands placed on officers had increased.
He said: "Officers and staff are truly committed to serving the public and work tirelessly to provide the very best service they can.
"They, too, feel the frustration of not having as much time as they would like to spend with victims of crime or out on the beat. No police officer or PCSO in my 25 years' experience wants to go home feeling as though they have provided a sub-standard service.
"The demands placed on the police service today are unrecognisable compared to when I was a patrol officer. Thankfully, the vast majority of the public understand this and are grateful for the incredible work they do."
A Freedom of Information request has been submitted to Derbyshire police to find how many hours officers spent on the street in the same time period.