New Zealand has nearly 9,000 sworn police officers across 12 districts working with common purpose to ensure our communities remain safe. We’re committed to further reducing crime, victimisation and harm, while maintaining the trust and confidence of all New Zealanders.
In order to achieve this, we need frontline staff to be more mobile, visible and accessible than ever before as they implement our Prevention First approach to policing.
To date more than 9,000 smartphones and over 4,000 tablets have been issued to police officers and key support staff, making New Zealand Police one of the most mobile fleets in the world.
At the same time, Police and key strategic partners have developed and deployed services, programmes and applications that provide functions and services officers that would previously have required officers to return to the station.
Over the coming months, a new On Duty app will be available to officers as further smartphone upgrades are rolled out. This will be the go-to hub where a number of existing and future tools will become available for use over the next two years.
These tools will enable officers to spend far less time behind a desk doing paperwork and much more time out in their communities, where they can make the most impact. In other words, be ‘more street than station’.
More specifically, On Duty will increasingly help Police work smarter, faster and safer to look up details of offenders, victims, vehicles and locations; assign tasks to officers while they’re out and about; take photographs and videos that might later be used for evidential purposes; and better share and access other relevant information.
For example, the soon-to-be-released Traffic Crash Report tool will enable officers who attend a crash scene to enter and mark key information directly onto a map of the scene on their mobile devices, before uploading it from the roadside.
The existing manual process requires hand-drawn maps of crash sites and then re-entering information in multiple forms.
The new digital system will significantly improve the accuracy and time taken to complete reports. Officers will also soon use their smartphones to enter and issue infringement tickets at the side of the road, without the need for further paperwork.
Every task our officers can complete without the need to return to their station or wait on the radio is time freed up for other activities. This further enables our officers to be more visible in communities, preventing crime and keeping them safer. This could mean another visit to a local businesses to provide prevention advice, or more time to run checks on suspicious vehicles, people or activities.
The speed of mobile innovation is unlikely to slow down in the coming years, and to an extent it is difficult to predict future developments. That’s why we see mobility primarily as an enabler to support the goals of our organisation and support our people, rather than focusing on the capability of the hardware itself.
We need to ensure we take advantage of future opportunities to mobilise our people and boost their capability through innovation and technology, and develop new partnerships along the way.
We know what we want from mobility, and we know that it will need to be smart, fast and easy to maximise the benefits for our frontline police and the public.
We also know that developing strategic partnerships will continue to be important. Mobility is not an area where we can go it alone – nor do we hold all the information that could help us continually make the best policing decisions.
Greater use of technology is the way of the future. It’s common sense and will ensure officers can remain on the frontline where they can continue helping to ensure our communities are safe, and feel safe too.