The New Zealand Police are crediting a rollout of iPhones and iPads to police officers as having helped to reduce crime in the island country. The devices are part of a program called "Policing Excellence," and the NZ Police issued a report crediting it for reducing crime by 13 percent, reducing the number of necessary prosecutions by 27 percent, and for allowing police to be more focused on victims.
Constable Neil Gillespie with His iPad
Source: New Zealand Police
The New Zealand Police force is a national police force that handles all local law enforcement duties, including duties covered by local police in the U.S. The stated purpose of Policing Excellence is, "to free up Police from time-consuming processes and paperwork so they can work more with the public, focus on victims and prevent problems escalating."
As part of its plan, the NZ Police have issued 6,259 iPhones to officers and staff, and another 3,702 iPads. The organization has developed "police-specific applications" for the devices, and used them to have things like color photos on site when looking for suspects or victims, organize roadblocks and other area-related policing activities, find addresses, communicate, file paperwork, and even "covertly" communicate with COMMS (or, local Communications Centres).
In the police-issued report, Constable Neil Gillespie (pictured above) said, "I will know about safety alerts, which will improve my own safety when I am working on my own. I can read jobs without going back to Hokitika station and have lots of tools with me out on the beat, such as maps, Facetime and email. This is great."
Another unnamed staff members said, "On Friday, we attended a stabbing. The offender's name was provided by the victim and checked on the iPad. Staff arrived at a briefing where the 'maps' application was used to identify the scene of the crime, and the home address of the suspect. We were able to identify the layout, best approach to minimise scene contamination and where to park patrol vehicles to effectively contain both addresses of interest."
Above and beyond the anecdotal accounts included in the report, the most important takeaway is that the national police force has been able to reduce crime and prosecutions in New Zealand by leveraging Apple devices as part of a comprehensive platform. The aim of that platform is to allow police to be more focused on what they should be focused on, which is criminals and their victims.
That's pretty darned cool.