NSW Australian Police go high-tech … with mobile phones

Sure, it's pretty, but my real-life notebook works better with leather gloves.

Sure, it’s pretty, but my real-life notebook works better with leather gloves.

In what it has dubbed “new era” and a “significant step forward” in “real-time” policing, NSW Police will roll out 500 Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablets to select members of the force.

The smartphones will be handed out to police within specialist units including mounted and motorcycle response squads, dog unit, gangs squad, transport, traffic and highway patrol, and domestic and family violence teams, as well as local and regional enforcement squads.

The lucky officers will no longer have to traipse back to the car to use their clunky in-car police computer. Instead, they’ll be able to access police databases to do background checks and more, right from the device in the palm of their hand.

Add me on Facebook?: NSW Police goes mobile.

Add me on Facebook?: NSW Police goes mobile.

“They can also be used to send text messages, make phone calls and access the internet,” NSW Police said in a statement.

As a security measure, sensitive data on the smartphones can be erased remotely if a device is lost or stolen. GPS capabilities also allow better tracking of team members.

Officers will of course reap the many other benefits of using smartphones on the job long enjoyed by other professionals, including journalists – such as being able to take photos and record video and audio on the go.

NSW Police is testing cloud-based mobile access to databases for background checks.

NSW Police is testing cloud-based mobile access to databases for background checks.

The device also comes with a stylus, allowing force members to take notes by hand and then digitise them, for better record keeping.

A NSW Police spokesperson said these advantages would not replace the need for specialist forensic services such as crime scene photographers but could be used as “a follow-up tool for ongoing inquiries”.

“This technology will help police fight and prevent crime in our community and I look forward to seeing its positive effect on operational policing throughout the coming weeks,” NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said.

A police spokesperson said the trial rollout was to determine what advantages and efficiencies the mobiles would provide on-the-beat officers in their daily tasks, with the potential for “possibly rolling it out further” if it were successful.

There is just one potential problem we can see as to the viability of this high-tech proposal – and that’s that the Note 4 is a sizeable phone with a 5.7-inch screen that doesn’t easily fit in one’s pocket.

The NSW Police spokesperson reassured us their response teams often wore utility vests and otherwise had “cargo-type” uniforms with plenty of room to stash their gear.

One hopes management doesn’t have plans to start trialling Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headsets, which are compatible only with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4; that could get messy.

Rumour has it that Samsung will unveil two brand new smartphones at the Mobile World way”

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Henry Sapiecha

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