Queensland Police use iPad minis, saving time on paperwork and making access to vital information quicker.
Queensland Police use iPad minis, saving time on paperwork and making access to vital information quicker.

The iPad cops keeping us safer

THERE are 600,000 reasons why Queensland police are interested in Apple's latest iPad minis.

That's the number of officer hours being saved a year using the smart mobile technology which has meant more police on the beat, and far fewer officers tied up doing paperwork.

And the newly released iPad mini, which offers three times the performance and a staggering nine times the graphics power of its predecessor, promises even more efficiency for the 6800 police who have the devices.

Powered by the A12 Bionic Chip, which is capable of 5 trillion operations per second, the $599 iPad Mini is 25% brighter, and now has support for Apple Pencil.

Superintendent Craig Huxley, of Queensland's Mobility and Innovation unit, says police have come a long way since the days of radioing for information.

"Prior to the delivery of the QPS mobility program, all police officers would receive their job taskings (dispatch) via radio and also undertake person, location and vehicle searches via radio.

Queensland Police using iPad minis.
Queensland Police using iPad minis.

"In peak periods, it was not unusual for officers to be in a queue for 20 minutes to make inquiries, whilst dispatchers would prioritise the urgent calls for service amongst routine calls.

"Officers would record information in their notebook or write a paper ticket and then return to the station to input it into the computer systems."

He says the use of the iPad and the service's custom apps have led to a safer Queensland - not only for the public - but for officers fighting crime.

Police can check on vehicles and properties using their iPad mini.
Police can check on vehicles and properties using their iPad mini.

"Today, iPad mini is an integral tool to help our front-line officers make smarter, safer decisions. By accessing critical information, assessing risks, conducting searches and issuing infringements in the field in real time, our officers can spend more time in the community and less time at their desks doing paperwork.

"For Queensland Police, iPad mini was almost a no brainer. The built-in security of iOS meets our strict requirements, and the mini's compact size allows our officers to be truly mobile... our officers like the iPad mini so much that we redesigned their uniform, adding a custom pocket to allow them to quickly secure their device."

A custom QLiTE app allows officers to access police records and a range of state and national databases. Police can do searches of persons of interest, vehicles of interest, and locations, returning information including recent photos, warnings and records of previous interactions.

Officers can record a traffic crash, missing persons and domestic violence on the device. They can also issue traffic infringements.

Queensland also has its own purpose-built Mobile Capability Centre with 35 full-time staff.

Police use five custom apps which allow more than 35 functions, including roadside drug testing, dispatch tasking, crime reporting and logging.

"There has been a reduction in radio time by over 30 minutes per officer per shift which has significantly reduced the demand on our communications centres,'' Supt Huxley says.

"There has been a reduction in general administrative time by approximately 30 minutes through the logging and simplified one-off data entry and we are seeing significant time savings in dealing with domestic violence matters through simplified in-field data entry."

A dog squad handler using an iPad mini.
A dog squad handler using an iPad mini.

Supt Huxley said that during the recent Townsville floods, QPS officers worked in partnership with the Australian Defence Force and used their QLiTE devices to access our CAD system to identify where people were most risk and respond to urgent calls.

Supt Huxley said Queensland Police would be upgrading to the new iPad minis. through its Telstra deal.

"Our fleet of 6800 iPad minis are refreshed based on a 2 year lifespan, there will be a transition to the new iPad mini once stock is commercially available."