Telstra to provide WA Police with 3,000 iPhones

The Police Force is also developing apps for its officers, which will allow statements to be taken in the field and eventually enable officers to write and post traffic infringements.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Every frontline officer in Western Australia's Police Force will be issued a brand-new iPhone 11, in a move touted will help the force fight crime.

Telstra will supply the devices as part of a new contract worth AU$8 million.

60 officers already have new iPhones in their possession, with another 3,000 to be distributed by Christmas.

The phones are equipped with crucial WA Police Force functions, a statement from Minister for Police and Road Safety Michelle Roberts said. She said every officer would effectively have the resources of a computer at their fingertips.

See also: How Victoria Police handled the Bourke Street incident on social media (TechRepublic)

Apps that have been made specifically for police officers will allow them to perform identity checks, search the police database, capture evidence, and report crimes.

The devices are also fitted with a duress function, which communicates an alert to the State Operations Command Centre, providing the officer's location.

Further apps are in development, Roberts said, which would allow officers to take statements in the field and eventually write and post traffic infringements on the device.

"The government is delivering a raft of digital initiatives to modernise our frontline capabilities and provide a contemporary Police Force," Roberts added.

"These devices will ensure our officers have fast access to information and intelligence in the field, and support them to do their jobs more effectively."

The initiative is part of the state's AU$90 million investment in the digital transformation of the WA Police Force that was announced during the 2019-20 Budget.

The tech boost also includes digital mobility, body-worn cameras, automatic number plate recognition technology, and upgraded digital infrastructure at police stations.

The police force is already rolling out body-worn cameras to officers as a way to improve evidence capture and offer greater safety.

A WA Police spokesperson said previously that they are seeking technology that could automatically activate the cameras when officers are about to use a weapon and back-capture at least 30 seconds of footage.

WA Police last month announced signing a contract with NEC Australia for the transformation of its wide area network, local area network, and IP telephony environments across every site.

The contract, worth AU$39 million, will see more than 200 Police sites across 2.5 million square kilometres of Western Australia enabled with high bandwidth, redundant network connectivity, and a "state of the art" IP telephony solution.

The Police Force also recently partnered with Microsoft to trial a pilot cloud-based platform that is aimed toward making it easier for officers to track the digital footprints of criminals.

The cloud-based platform analyses large quantities of digital information, and then applies artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to "make sense" of the information collected during investigations, such as surfacing important information or patterns.

According to WA Police, over 2.8TB of data are analysed in every case involving digital evidence which can make information management very obstructive in solving a crime.


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