news The Queensland Police Service has committed to buying another 1,250 Apple iPads and iPhones to better deliver information to front-line police officers, following a successful trial of the devices from mid-2013 and the recent announcement that live CCTV footage would be piped to officers using the technology.
In July 2013, Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey outlined two trials of the technology. In the first, 50 officers across the state were to be be issued with either a smart phone or tablet device with a custom-built Police app which would let them instantly search person, vehicle and address details through QPS, CRIMTRAC and Department of Transport systems. Secondly, 400 iPad mini units were to be trialled to test the functionality of a new email and mobile intranet system.
In an updated statement issued today, Dempsey said at this stage, more than 500 frontline officers had iPhones and iPads that gave them better access to information, with another 1,250 to come by November.
“We are committed to delivering better frontline police infrastructure and we are investing more than ever before into new technology for emergency services,” Dempsey said. “Under Labor, police officers were shackled to their desks, snowed under by paperwork, and suffocated by reams of red and blue tape. Now, under this government, these devices can save up to 30 minutes per officer per shift in desk time, which will add up to many thousands of desk hours per week.”
“Just as significantly officers now have access to crucial information in the palms of their hands, giving our law enforcement teams an immediate ‘leg-up’ in the fight against crime. The technology provides a platform for myriad different functions, and will eventually include applications such as fingerprint and facial recognition technology.”
“The QLiTE system has been developed by the Queensland Police Service and deployed to officers from Far North Queensland on Thursday Island to Surfers Paradise and remote patrols in the North West of the state, with 1,250 more to come in time for G20.”
Queensland Police Service Commissioner Ian Stewart said feedback from officers had been overwhelmingly positive.
“We have received feedback from officers which shows these devices are successful operational tools, particularly in remote and regional Queensland,” Stewart said. “Officers are getting greater access to operational information where traditionally they would have to rely on radios in areas of bad coverage. The Queensland Police Service will be actively using these new devices and technologies during the G20 events later in 2014 to protect world leaders.
The news comes just weeks after the Queensland Government unveiled plans to deploy new technology that would allow Brisbane police officers to view live CCTV footage from cameras in public areas on their iPads or smartphones while working their beat, in a move being billed as helping to keep those of the city’s residents ‘who are doing the right thing’ safe. The move was immediately attacked by privacy advocates.
Poor reception behind the scenes
However, it’s not all good news for the Queensland Police Service in terms of the organisation’s technology.
A review of Queensland’s police and law enforcement resources published in September last year found the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) technology capability was “significantly behind” that of comparable police forces in other jurisdictions, with archaic stand-alone IT systems lacking interconnection and modern technology not available to support officers in the field.
The review noted that Queensland’s Police Minister Jack Dempsey had been “supportive of mobile technologies” which could be used by officers in the field to gain data assisting their operations, and had provided QPS with a number of ideas on options which could be funded to develop this area. It noted that other police organisations in Australia and New Zealand had moved into the mobile technology space; for example, in the UK, police have adopted iPhones and iPads that are connected with court IT systems, reducing the need for written briefs of evidence and police notebooks.
The review noted: “Despite this, the Review team observed that the Queensland Police Service response to these proposals was both extremely slow and remarkably uninformative.”
Image credit: Apple