New Zealand turns to time-saving iCops

New Zealand's boys in blue have been armed with iPhones and iPads in an initiative designed to save time and money.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

If there is anything that shows how information technology can benefit the public services, it was the news of the New Zealand police being equipped with smartphones and iPads.

The cost of more than 9,900 iPads and iPhones will be around $160 million over 10 years, with the money coming out of operational budgets.

The move means that officers will spend less time on their radios and having to return to the station to fill out paperwork.

The boys in blue can truly be "mobile warriors", with the devices reportedly saving officers 30 minutes in every shift, which is equivalent to several hundred extra officers on the beat.

It does seem like a simple and easy way to bring the police into the 21st century, and I must say that I am surprised we have not had something more technological in our patrol cars.

In the US, their Highway Patrol will soon have access to sophisticated on-board computers, with broadband and an array of cameras.

Of course, New Zealand does like to do things on the cheap, and the set-up announced this week seems cost-effective, flexible, and practical.

I hope we really do see more time and effort spent on fighting crime, which is what the government says this technology will bring.

Far too often, the police seem to spend too much time acting as the Inland Revenue on wheels, issuing thousands and thousands of speeding tickets. Perhaps amongst all this newfangled technology, the iCops should also have been issued with mobile EFTPOS terminals. That would be one way to help pay for their fancy new kit.

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