The Queensland Police Service has boosted the number of devices involved in its mobile workforce pilot and plans to put the feelers out for a potential managed service arrangement later this week.
The state police force revealed in July it was trialling a mobile data strategy to allow its field officers to access several databases - previously only accessible at base or via a two-way radio - while on the road.
The pilot, initially scheduled to run for up to six months, involved 50 Apple devices and the new, internally-built QLiTE mobile application, which provides access to three police databases.
QPS late yesterday revealed the pilot has now grown to encompass almost 400 iOS devices - iPad minis, iPhone 5s and iPhone 4Ss - as the government prepares to study the force’s business case for a wider rollout.
The QPS submitted its business case to the state government last month but it was not considered before the government shut down for the Christmas break. It will be looked at in February.
In the meantime, the QPS will soon approach the market for more information about what a managed services arrangement for its mobile program might look like if the sheme is eventually funded by the government.
Such an arrangement would require a batch of 1200 devices initially to meet operational requirements for next year’s Brisbane G20 summit, with the potential to scale into many thousands of devices to support frontline police more generally. The force is currently using Apple products but is open to trailling other smartphone brands.
QPS’ acting chief superintendent of the ICT strategic services branch, Dave Johnson, told iTnews police were getting “impressive” results from the solution as a result of no longer being restricted by two-way radios.
In the last few weeks, Johnson said, police have performed 58,000 person record checks - which previously weren’t possible through the radio network due to congestion - accessed 13,000 person images, viewed 18,500 vehicle records, and created nearly 5000 street checks, which they previously had to return to their desktop PC to do.
The new mobile approach means the force is able to have an increased police presence on the road, and less time spent on admin duties back at the station, he said.
A managed service arrangement would involve device provision and scalability, provision of peripherals including in-vehicle mounting, wi-fi hotspots, data carriage and voice services, security controls and systems, a scalable backend, and support and maintenance.
Expressions of interest will be invited from Friday.