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NSW Police to begin mobile trial

by Pallavi Singhal •
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The NSW Police Force will begin a proof-of-concept trial for electronically issuing traffic infringement notices from 2 September 2013 which, if rolled out, will generate a significant demand for tablet devices. The trial is being described as its “first foray” into using cloud technology.

From next week, NSW Police will begin a four-week trial of a mobile application for issuing infringement notices online in the Hunter Valley, Rose Bay, Sutherland, Moree and Goulburn regions. The trial aims to test the potential replacement of the current system, under which notices are manually mailed to recipients.

“By a limited proof of concept, we can test the security and applicability of this next stage in efficient and cost-effective ways of government agencies doing business,” Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Roads, Stuart Ayres, said in parliament on behalf of NSW Attorney General and Justice Minister Greg Smith last week.

“The initiative of the police aligns with NSW 2021 and complements the goals of the New South Wales Government's ICT Strategy,” said Ayres.

“It is also the first foray for the NSW Police Force into ways to support and promote both the State Government and the Commonwealth Government commitment to using cloud technology.”

People will be given the option to receive their traffic infringement notice electronically, either through email or text message. Citizens who agree to participate in the trial will be able to pay or challenge the infringement online. The system will reduce paperwork and administrative time for citizens and the police, with multiple infringements able to be entered on a single notice under separate penalty numbers.

The mobile application, which is fully integrated with the NSW Police Force’s Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS), will automatically upload data to the COPS database, eliminating the time taken for officers to manually enter the data onto the system.

The NSW Police Force estimates that the mobile system will save around 240,000 hours per year if the trial is successful and the application is adopted, according to Ayres. The State Debt Recovery Office has estimated monetary savings of around $1.2 million per annum through the elimination of manual processes.

NSW Police has procured 20 tablets on a temporary basis for the length of the trial, and anticipates an open approach to market for mobile devices if the trial is deemed a success.

While the current trial focuses on software testing, a larger production trial to evaluate the sustainability of hand-held devices and productivity savings through the use of technology will follow a successful proof-of-concept trial.

Similar trials of mobile devices and applications are also underway at a number of other police departments across Australia and overseas:

  • The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has implemented a pilot of its Interactive Constable on Patrol System (ICOPS), which provides a mobile version of the main Policing System. The AFP is now planning to expand its mobile capability through specific apps and links to other departmental systems;
  • Queensland Police in July 2013 announced trials of 400 mini iPads to give frontline officers access to the police database, a mobile intranet system and email. It will also trial a custom-built Police app with links to CrimTrac and the Queensland Department of Transport information systems from October 2013;
  • Tasmania Police announced a three-week trial of tablet devices in May 2013, to enable officers to submit reports and access information from the field; and
  • New Zealand Police has already issued over 6,000 officers with Apple mobile and tablet devices since April 2013, for the purposes of data entry, communication and access to central information databases.

View the NSW Police Force profile on GovFacts >>>

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