Latest devices assist police

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

A move to equip frontline police staff with smartphones and tablets is being praised as "one of the most significant things to happen in policing in my career", according to Rotorua's police area commander.

Rotorua police will be among the 6500 frontline officers nationwide who will receive a smartphone by the middle of next year, after an 11-month trial held last year.

Another 3900 staff will also be given tablets.

Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said it was a big step for the police.

"Without any doubt it is one of the most significant things to happen in policing in my career. We have been hoping to have access to this sort of technology for years and now it is here."

The initial cost to introduce the devices nationwide is $4.3 million, followed by operating costs of $159 million during the next 12 years.

Mr Horne said it would provide a number of flow-on benefits for the community.

"For example, it will reduce the time it takes our staff to carry out a large number of routine tasks, which means they will get through more work in less time."

Mr Horne said it would also reduce congestion on the police radio, where many routine queries could now be handled using the mobile devices.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said introducing the devices would mean Rotorua police could focus more time on preventing and tackling crime on the ground.

"An 11-month trial last year involving over 100 officers in four police districts showed that these mobile devices allow each officer to spend, on average, an extra 30 minutes per shift on the frontline," Mr McClay said.

"They can access, input and share important information immediately, without having to travel back to their station to access databases or write reports."

All the devices will be password protected and can be tracked, locked or wiped if they are lost or stolen.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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