news The Queensland Police Service has revealed it is set to follow similar initiatives in Tasmania and in the Australian Federal Police and deploy the new breed of tablets such as iPads to officers to assist with their duties on the road, in a move that represents a step on the road to replacing bulkier and less mobile devices such as in-car laptops.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Queensland Police Minister said one trial by the Queensland Police Service would start in October and see police officers equipped with a mobile app which would let them search key police databases while on the beat.
“In October, 50 officers across the state will be issued with either a smart phone or tablet device with a custom-built Police app which will let them instantly search person, vehicle and address details through QPS, CRIMTRAC and Department of Transport systems,” Dempsey said.
“Currently officers have to use the two way radio system to call a Police Communications Centre to have a search performed. They often have to wait while a radio operator takes the details, checks the information and then relays the results back to the officer. During a busy period an officer may have to wait for the results of their request.”
“With the mobile system, police officers will have all that information at their fingertips, saving officers’ waiting time and allowing them to move on to other jobs. It is hoped that by reducing the time it takes to perform searches, this Police app will save each police crew around 30 minutes each shift. The QPS will speak regularly to the 50 officers who are trialling the app to see if these benefits are being realised and to ensure the app is performing as intended. The State Government is committed to finding ways to maximise police officers’ time on the road protecting the people of Queensland.”
Dempsey said the Queensland Police Service had also recently purchased 400 of Apple’s iPad mini units, which were set to be trialled “soon” in a separate exercise.
“The officers issued these iPads will test the functionality of a new email and mobile intranet system,” he said. “It is hoped that by giving operational officers this access, they can check their emails from the road rather than having to do it at the beginning or end of their shift in the Police Station.”
Commissioner Ian Stewart said mobile data would support police officers on the frontline as they make decisions at the coal face. “This will help deliver a more efficient and improved policing service to the community,” Stewart said. “The mobile data will help the QPS become flexible and responsive within problem areas, and also boost safety for officers. Being able to search the police database while on the road is of huge assistance to the Service and feedback from officers who use the technology will be invaluable.”
News of the trials in Queensland comes as other jurisdictions have also recently flagged similar plans. For example, Computerworld reported last week that the Australian Federal Police had stated at the Technology in Government Summit in Canberra that it was planning to replace its existing in-car computing system with a new fleet of tablets. A demonstration at the conference showed policing apps being run on an Apple iPad.
iTNews also reported in mid-May this year that Tasmania’s police force had decided to push ahead with a trial of Windows 8 tablets for its frontline officers.
These rollouts which we’re seeing in various police departments around Australia represent sheer common sense. It should be obvious that shifting policing applications into a more mobile and accessible form factor will make police more effective in their operational work. It’s good to see police forces around Australia, which have historically been quite slow-moving in terms of technology upgrades, getting on-board with the tablet revolution.
Image credit: Apple