chalabala - Fotolia

Victoria Police to get more productive with mobile devices

Apple devices fitted with policing apps will let officers access vital information and collaborate while on the go

At least 10,000 Victoria Police officers will be equipped with iPads and iPhones through a new mobility service that lets them access critical information on the move.

The service will also reduce the entry of duplicate data by officers, while increasing workforce collaboration by enabling vital information to be shared between frontline officers and their colleagues working in control rooms.

At the same time, Victoria Police will be able to preserve its mission-critical radio communications for essential emergency communications by removing lower priority traffic from its radio network.

The mobility service will be supplied by a consortium led by Motorola Solutions in a five-year contract worth more than A$50m (US$38m). It includes a mobile app called mPol that has been developed by Gridstone, an app development company acquired by Motorola Solutions in 2016.

Other members of the consortium include Optus, which will provide the mobile connectivity that powers the service, and CompNow, which will supply the Apple mobile devices, logistics and device repair services.

The service is part of plans by the Victoria Police to become more “agile, responsive, people-focused and connected” and to improve its capabilities through workforce reform and technology. These plans had been outlined earlier in the Victoria Police capability plan 2016-2025, as well as the organisation’s Bluepaper: a vision for Victoria Police in 2025.

“Many public safety and enterprise businesses today are looking to improve the way they manage their daily workflows through the use of mobile applications that can simplify their most complex work challenges,” said Steve Crutchfield, vice-president and managing director at Motorola Solutions.

“We will provide Victoria Police with a mobility managed service that is highly secure, reliable and helps to free up more time for frontline police to work in their communities where they are needed most,” he added.

Read more about enterprise mobility

John Paitaridis, managing director of Optus Business, added that providing reliable and efficient mobile connectivity will open up a gateway of new capabilities for public safety agencies.

Victoria Police is not the first law enforcement agency in Australia to hop onto the enterprise mobility bandwagon.

Since 2013, the Queensland Police has been using its Qlite iPad app that was also developed by Gridstone to issue infringement notices, conduct roadside drug testing and handle assigned tasks, among other capabilities.

In a video on Queensland’s use of mobile devices in policing, Ian Stewart, commissioner of the Queensland Police, said mobile devices have enabled police officers to be more productive. Within split seconds, he said, officers will know who they are talking to and whether a person has alerts against him or her. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of checks that are done on a daily basis.”

Queensland Police’s deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski added that mobility has saved each officer an average of 30 minutes per shift, enabling the police force to focus on proactive activities that improve the safety of communities.

Read more on Mobile apps and software