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Police go hi-tech with smartphones and iPads

Published: 7:12PM Saturday September 08, 2012 Source: ONE News

Police officers in some parts of New Zealand have added iPads and smartphones to their crime-fighting toolkit.

One hundred officers on the West Coast, in Lower Hutt, Hawke's Bay and Manakau are taking part in a trial to see if the new gadgets can make their work more efficient.

"We're looking to provide police officers with greater access to information with new technology to enable them to spend more time in community," said Inspector Simon Feltham of the New Zealand Police Headquarters.

So far the reviews from the field are mostly positive.

"Normally, I'd have to do all that on the radio and It'd take quite a bit of time and take up radio time.. so its all done," said Constable Damon Monks of the Greymouth Police after checking a driver's identity on an iPad.

The officers can use the new tools to access apps like Google Maps or tap into secure police computer systems.

"Probably the best example of this is their ability to access photographs of offenders or suspects to confirm identities, which can save a great deal of trouble in the long run," said Feltham.

But the rugged West Coast terrain has posed a challenge for the technology - one of the reasons the region was chosen for the trial.

Sometimes there is no reception, making the new mobile devices useless.

Police Headquarters will decide around the end of the year which of the new devices they are going to roll out for all front line staff.