WA Police has begun rolling out iPhones to all frontline officers under an $8 million deal with Telstra, with more than 3000 to be deployed over the next seven weeks.
Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the first 60 mobile devices were issued to officers this week after the force received $34.6 million for the rollout in the May budget.
The initial control group will test the iPhone 11 handsets and provide feedback before the force begins an aggressive rollout schedule in December to equip almost 4000 officers by early 2020.
While 4000 devices will be rolled out in total, the force hopes to have deployed more than 3000 in time for Christmas.
The smartphones provide officers with a range of applications that can be used to perform crucial policing functions, reducing the need for them to return to a police station.
The apps – which have been developed under the digital policing program, dubbed OneForce – allow officers to conduct identity checks, search the police database and report crimes.
Officers will also be able to capture evidence and submit it using the “Axon Capture” app, which also allows photo and video evidence to be collected from the public.
The devices also have a duress function to alert the State Operations Command Centre of an officers locations when in trouble.
WA Police is also running an innovation hub to develop and expand on existing applications using the platform developed for OneForce.
Future apps currently under development will allow officers to take statements and write and post traffic infringements on the spot.
Roberts said the new devices would ensure all frontline officers “have fast access to information and intelligence in the field, and support them to do their jobs more effectively”.
The rollout of mobile devices is the latest in string of technology developments at the policing agency since officers urgently called for funding to refresh IT hardware, fix broken apps and reduce manual administration in late 2017.
The force's digital policing program is also currently rolling out 4800 body-worn video cameras (BWV) to frontline officers across the state, though this is not expected to be complete by 2021.
Ahead of that, however, the force is undertaking a $39 million networking upgrade with NEC across the state’s 200-plus police stations, campuses and other sites.