South Australia Police will equip all of its officers with mobile devices over the next four years under a $35 million mobility program aimed at improving productivity and boosting situational awareness.
The devices will give the state’s more than 5000 officers on-demand access to core policing systems, reducing the need for them to return to a police station to complete administrative tasks.
SAPOL currently relies on officers using shared devices, as well as personal devices in some instances.
The rollout will take place as part of a mobile workforce transformation program, which has been allocated $34.9 million over four years to overhaul SAPOL’s outdated infrastructure and applications.
“SAPOL’s current ICT infrastructure and applications are struggling to meet contemporary policing mobility needs,” a document about the program seen by iTnews said.
“Remaining on current technology means an even-increasing gap between what we can achieve and what is possible.”
The force said that its current technology footprint has been “developed in an ad hoc fashion over many years, mostly in response to once-off funding opportunities”.
“We use disparate devices, systems, applications and processes – which are difficult and costly to maintain and near impossible to modify to meet changing modern policing needs,” it said.
The recent bushfires and pandemic had highlighted the “need for officers to have greater situational and environmental awareness and rapid access to information”.
The program is slated to deliver a wide range of direct and indirect benefits to not only SAPOL, but also to other state government agencies and the community.
The force points to “time-savings of 30 minutes per officer per shift” in jurisdictions that have introduced mobile devices and applications offering access to core policing systems.
“These time savings correspond to the equivalent of deploying an additional 30 operational police officers per shift, and would be a direct offset to current and anticipated demand,” it said.
Other benefits go to the safety, health and wellbeing of SAPOL staff.
The program will also involve building a platform for critical policing applications that can serve the force’s future needs, as well as introducing up-to-date productivity and collaboration tools.
SA's pledge to equip its officers with personal issue devices follows WA Police's force-wide rollout of the iPhone 11 last year under its OneForce digital policing program.
WA officers were equipped with around 6500 iPhones in total, with 2000 deployed in direct response to the pandemic.
The force now wants the devices to replace standard issue police notebooks to enhance digital record keeping.