Thousands of New Zealand frontline police will be armed with smartphones and tablets from this year in an efficiency initiative that the force hopes will save millions of dollars.
A spokesperson for NZ Police told iTnews that the devices are Apple iPhones and iPads. This year, 6086 officers will receive iPhones and of these, 3900 will get iPads too for more complex data entry jobs.
These will be password protected and can be wiped remotely if lost. The spokesperson declined to say if the devices and their communications will be encrypted.
Vodafone is the mobile network provider of choice for NZ Police and will also supply the force with the devices in a decade-long deal, with the initial three-month rollout costing NZ$4.3 million (A$2.75 million).
Officers will use two specific apps — eQuip for access to the Police National Intelligence Application for information on people, vehicles and locations, and Mobile Responder (pdf), which provides maps of where staff and colleagues are — as well as standard office type programs such as email and calendars.
Police conducted an 11-month trial last year with over 100 staff in four districts around the country, and found that the devices provided a half-hour productivity gain per officer and shift.
In total, NZ Police expects to save 520,000 hours each year for the 6086 smart device equipped officers, worth up to NZ$304.8 million (A$248 million) over 12 years.
Over that period, NZ Police will spend NZ$159 million (A$129 million) in operating expenditure to fund the smart device initiative.
Western Australian Police went with Fujitsu in 2010 for its mobile technology initiative and Hampshire Police in the UK use patrol cars equipped with data terminals, but the Kiwi cops claim that "there is no one doing exactly what we are doing" using Apple products.