Hi-tech widens arm of law

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

NEW tech­nol­ogy is tipped to be a game changer for po­lice in the fight against crime.

Next week Auck­land City po­lice will start their mo­bil­ity roll-out which will see 619 iPhones and 349 iPads handed out to of­fi­cers.

Ini­tia­tive leader Sergeant Cal­lum Young says a hand­ful of staff have al­ready been us­ing the de­vice and they are prov­ing to be in­valu­able.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be the end of peo­ple giv­ing us false de­tails,’’ Mr Young says.

‘‘Al­most all of the good sto­ries so far re­late to some­one giv­ing false de­tails and the de­vices lead­ing to them be­ing found out.’’

The iPads and iPhones mean in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple, ve­hi­cles and places is just a fin­ger click away.

‘‘Now we can check pho­tos on the street.

‘‘If I stopped you and I thought the per­son in the pas­sen­ger’s seat was giv­ing me false de­tails I could check through your con­nec­tions and maybe he says.

‘‘It’s a huge leap for­ward from us hop­ping on the ra­dio and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tor try­ing to find that per­son’s iden­tity.’’

iden­tify

them,’’

In an­other in­ci­dent an iPad helped of­fi­cers col­lar three gang mem­bers us­ing stan­dover tac­tics.

‘‘With any­thing like that we need to take a cau­tious ap­proach. Be­fore now we would have had to call the com­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tor to get an over­view of the phys­i­cal lay­out of the ad­dress.

‘‘With the iPad they were able to look at aerial maps of the lo­ca­tion and when three of­fend­ers de­camped we were able to pre­dict where they would pop out of the ad­dress.

‘‘Ba­si­cally the of­fi­cers were able to speed around the cor­ner and watch them jump out of a bush,’’ he says.

Al­most ev­ery of­fi­cer who in­ter­acts with the pub­lic is be­ing given one of the de­vices.

Lay­ers of se­cu­rity mean they aren’t a risk if one fell into the wrong hands.

‘‘All of the USB func­tions have been switched off so even if you did have the pass­words you couldn’t plug it in and get stuff off it,’’ Mr Young says.

They are also GPS track­able and can be re­motely wiped.

‘‘If one goes miss­ing it’s lit­er­ally a phone call to find out where it is and if we can’t get it, it can be wiped with the push of a but­ton.’’

They’re also peo­ple proof, Mr Young says.

Each is cov­ered with a heavy duty case that of­fi­cers are not sup­posed to re­move.

Na­tion­ally the roll-out will cost $4.3 mil­lion and an­other $159 mil­lion will be spent over the next 10 years to fund the ini­tia­tive.

One of the most no­tice­able ben­e­fits is ex­pected to be time saved and in the trial pe­riod, of­fi­cers saved a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate of about half an hour in their day.

One of the ap­pli­ca­tions in­stalled on the de­vices al­lows of­fi­cers to see where all of the cars in the dis­trict are and what in­ci­dents are go­ing on. They will be able to as­sign them­selves to some types of jobs and en­ter in­for­ma­tion about them in­stead of us­ing the ra­dio.

It will mean staff can do rou­tine things them­selves, ef­fec­tively leav­ing ra­dio chan­nels open for the stuff that isn’t rou­tine.

‘‘It’s not an un­der­state­ment to say this is the big­gest thing the po­lice has done since ra­dios were put in cars,’’ Mr Young says. ‘‘They’re go­ing to make us the envy of po­lice from around the world.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Watch out: IPads and iPhones will make po­lice more ef­fec­tive at col­lar­ing crim­i­nals, Sergeant Cal­lum Young says.

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