NSW Police driving iPad Minis in traffic notices app trial

NSW Police driving iPad Minis in traffic notices app trial

Summary: A four-week trial of the new Mobile Notices app will be conducted throughout September in New South Wales.


The NSW Police has a long history of locking up, but in a change of direction for the state police force, it will have to get used to being locked down, courtesy of 20 iPad minis being trialled to help reduce the amount of time that officers spend on administrative tasks.

Do you know how fast you were going back there, sir?
(Image: Gridstone)

The app, called Mobile Notices, allows officers to issue traffic infringement notices, capture location information, and conduct live lookups of information, such as licence and registration data, in NSW Police's central Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS).

All data captured by the app is transmitted back to COPS and the NSW State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) for processing. Should the iPad have a working data connection, the transmission occurs immediately, whereas if the officer is without a data connection, the information is queued and sent when the officer returns to an area with coverage.

Mobile Notices also allows the officer to notify the infringing driver of the number of points that they have lost, what their new licence total is, and what the fine incurred is. The infringement notice is prepared as a PDF, which the driver can request to be delivered via email, SMS, or traditional mail. When a non-postal method of delivery is selected, the driver gets the notice immediately, otherwise the request to mail the notice is handled by the SDRO.

The original idea for the app was proposed by front-line officers, with the final app itself being developed by local mobile application development company Gridstone, which started work on a prototype app earlier this year.

"Not only did we need a secure connection between the mobile device and NSW Police's back-end systems, we also knew we were dealing with highly sensitive personal information, so we had to ensure the security of the information we were recording and sending via the device," said Lembit Pikkat, director at Gridstone.

"The iPads are locked down, so that any information is wiped and the device reset should anyone attempt to access them without authorisation. No data relating to the infringement notices, including photos, are stored on the device once the notice has been sent."

Gridstone makes use of Amazon Web Services' public cloud in Sydney, and said that any data that passes through its infrastructure is "only stored for the duration of the transaction, and is then deleted from both the device and the cloud servers".

"The AWS servers, and the connections made to NSW government's internal systems meet state government regulations with regards to information protection," the company said in a statement.

Should the trial be successful, a business case will be made to gain further funding, and a tender process begun to source for suppliers. It is claimed by NSW Police that a successful rollout of Mobile Notices would save an estimated 240,000 police hours and AU$1.2 million per year.

"If the trial is a success and the app fully deployed, it will give NSW Police the opportunity to spend more time on front-line policing and less on administrative tasks back at the station — which will have a positive impact on both road safety and officer effectiveness," said NSW Police Superintendent Karen McCarthy, who is overseeing the trial.

Officers bearing iPad minis are currently deployed across Sydney and a number of regional areas.

This new trial continues to demonstrate the taste that NSW Police has gained for Cupertino-designed, Chinese-made hardware.

Last year, the police service issued all of its 280 in-court prosecutors with iPads to facilitate the use of a new legal research app.

Topics: Legal, Apple, Government AU


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Ipads and Policing

    I heard those police in the Apple Isle couldn't use iPad Minis because their fingers were too large.... Good on you NSW Cops for being forward thinking....!!! and not paying the huge Microsoft Licensing fees.
    Richard Romanov
  • We have them too !

    I come from NZ and they have them here everywhere now. I think NZ Police purchased about 4.3 Million+ into iPads and iPhones for the cops.... I think its a good move.

  • Good Move !

    Tasmania had this three years ago but Government crushed it because Apple was too controversial and M$ SAMed the hell out of them. Great move by NSW and NZ I heard QLD Police are also on the way. This is the greatest advancement in Policing since the development of fingerprint analysis. Good to see a Police service doing something new and beneficial for the troops at the coal face.
  • Reciprocal rights

    If a prosecutor can use a computing device "in-court" then so can I.
  • Mobile devices becoming a part of public safety

    Although iPads are considered consumer-facing, the iOS app architecture is a secure platform that has been adopted by many police, fire and EMS departments in the US. There are some requirements to meet CJIS compliance -- a Mobile Device Manager (MDM) and a secure VPN. Currently, the most comprehensive app solution is PublicEye, which provides an easy-to-use collaboration and communication solution designed specifically for public safety. Website: http://www.publiceyes.com.
    Eric Sun