While New Zealand police offers don’t normal carry firearms, they’ll soon be packing iOS-powered mobiles and tablets as part of an initiative to bring the country’s law enforcement into the modern age and trim the amount of time officers spend performing administrative tasks in the field.
According to a number of articles on ZDNet, the New Zealand Police will be fitted out with iPads and iPhones via funds totalling $NZ160 million over ten years, with a juicy $NZ4.3 million being dispensed immediately. The devices will be used for a variety of purposes, including to “check offenders’ details (like photographs and bail conditions) where and when they need to”, in the words of NZ PM John Key.
The idea is that police will be able to spend more time out and about, protecting and serving, rather than waiting for information or hoofing it back to the station. One of the ZDNet articles states that over 6000 officers will be given devices, as part of the first rollout. The eventual benefit is that each officer will save up to half-an-hour each shift.
I don’t think governments have a reputation for embracing new technologies, preferring to stick with anything that displays in monochrome or requires seven horses to power. If the initiative does deliver the promised benefits, it should set a good precedent for Australia, considering the locality.