Hi-tech widens arm of law
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.’’
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.’’
Watch out: IPads and iPhones will make police more effective at collaring criminals, Sergeant Callum Young says.