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New Zealand to deploy 3,900 tablets and 6,000 smartphones to police officers

by Doug Drinkwater

February 13 2013

New Zealand's police force is spending big money on bring smartphones and tablets to officers (Image: Stuff.nz)
New Zealand's police force is spending big money on bring smartphones and tablets to officers (Image: Stuff.nz)

As part of its on-going partnership with MDM vendor AirWatch, New Zealand’s police force has announced its intention to deploy 3,900 tablets to officers in a bid to save money and time on the job.

New Zealand IT administrators have been working with AirWatch and Vodafone to secure the mobile deployment over the past year, with the end result being that the police force is now using AirWatch’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution to manage more than 10,000 devices.

The deployment will see 6,086 frontline staff receive smartphones by mid-April, while 3,900 Vodafone tablets will be given to staff that “need to do more complex data entry as part of their job”.

All mobile devices will give officers access to ‘eQuip’– the app which allows them to tap into the police database to submit and manage search enquiries, a mobile responder for nearby jobs and more standard features like email and calendar.

Officers will be restricted to police-approved applications only, although some access to social media sites may be offered to those with a real business need.

The initial cost of the deployment is said to be $4.3 million although the police anticipates spending another $159 million to facilitate a greater roll-out of mobile technology over the next 12 years.

However for all the high costs involved, the New Zealand Police expects the deployment to eventually save them money, with it estimating that the move will provide “productivity benefits of $304.8 million”.

It could also save workers time. Having conducted a trial run prior to the deployment, the police discovered that using these mobile devices saved frontline staff 30 minutes productivity time each shift, from conducting on-the-spot checks to recovering unpaid fines.

Such time saving translates roughly into 520,000 hours over the course of the year, according to police officials.

“The officers were enthusiastic about how the mobile technology helped them become more efficient and effective and this was supported by an evaluation process,” said Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, when asked about the trial of these mobile devices.

"Our long term vision is for frontline officers to be empowered, informed, tech-savvy, visible and safe in the community preventing crime, and not in stations filling in forms. The use of mobile devices goes a long way toward achieving this vision.”

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