As well as Tasers, Glocks and rifles, frontline police will be armed with smartphones, laptops and iPad-like tablets this year in an effort to increase numbers on the streets.

The "mobility of technology" trial starting this month will see the new technology in the hands of 100 to 150 officers in Hawkes Bay, Lower Hutt, the West Coast and Counties-Manukau West.

The trial is expected to allow officers to process charges while on the beat, saving them a trip back to the station.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall told the Herald officers were spending too much time behind desks.

"You go into police stations in times gone by and there are too many police officers sitting on computers. This way they can do it on laptops or iPads in their cars and stay in the street.

"Anything that keeps them out of the station and on the road, moving from one job to another in a proactive way, makes sense."

If the trial was successful, the devices could be rolled out further and be linked to both police and court databases, he said.

"In due course, someone who breaks a bottle on the street, for instance, rather than bringing them back to the police station, we might be able to write out an infringement notice to appear in court on this particular date."

Mr Marshall said the technology was already being used by road police.

"We have smart devices, a thousand of them, and road police have them now. They will punch in the details, the checks to see if the person is wanted.

"The docket can be given straight away and they don't have to fight for radio space or go back to the station for correspondence."

Police would not reveal the cost of the trial, saying the information was commercially sensitive.

Meanwhile by June this year 2700-odd frontline police vehicles are expected to have a lock-box containing a Taser, a Glock, a Bushmaster rifle and body armour. About half of the vehicles have a fully equipped lock-box already.

The increase in resources is the result of a police review of access to firearms completed about a year ago.