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Smartphones for all frontline police

Wednesday 13 Feb 2013 11:24 a.m.

Police staff will soon have access to smartphones and tablets to access information while out on the beat.

Prime Minister John Key has announced police will spend $4.3 million rolling out the technology, and $159 million in operating expenditure over the next 12 years.

From April, 6036 frontline officers will be using smartphones rising to 6500 by mid-2014.

Of those, 3900 officers whose roles involve more complex data entry will also receive a tablet.

"Using mobile technology means officers will be able to check offenders' details, like photographs and bail conditions, where and when they need to, rather than having to drive to a station to access information, or using the police radio," Mr Key said.

The devices will give police access to data, such as whether a person is known to carry weapons or has a history of violence, which will influence how they approach that person.

An 11-month pilot involving 100 officers in Lower Hutt, Napier, Counties-Manukau West and the West Coast found officers would save about 30 minutes in each eight-hour shift by using the new technology, or a total of 520,000 hours a year between 6086 officers.

That's equivalent to 345 extra frontline police officers, Mr Key says.

The pilot found officers were able to check on the spot whether people were giving false information.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says the technology is expected to provide $304.8 million in productivity benefits.

All the devices and applications on them will be password-protected to prevent unauthorised access and will be able to be remotely tracked, wiped and locked if they are lost or stolen.

NZN

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