Victoria Police's $50m mobility solution

By Jonathan Nally
Thursday, 13 April, 2017

Victoria Police's $50m mobility solution

A $50m investment in mobility devices and applications will see Victorian police spend more time on the frontline.

Motorola Solutions Australia has chosen to supply more than 10,000 iPhones and iPad minis to Victoria Police, along with associated mobile applications, and network and support services.

The contract is valued at more than $50 million and will run for a minimum of five years, with potential to extend to 11 years.

The solution includes mPol, a mobile app developed by Australian firm Gridstone, which Motorola Solutions acquired in November 2016.

mPol has already been successfully implemented by Queensland Police and will be tailored to meet the specific needs of Victoria Police.

The mobile devices will be used to capture evidence, perform identity checks and report crime and other happenings such as traffic incidents.

The aim is to enable officers to spend more time in the community and less time being station-bound, filling out paperwork.

The solution will also help reduce data entry duplication while increasing workforce collaboration by sharing information between frontline personnel and their colleagues in command and control centres.

Shifting these tasks to the mobile devices will help to preserve Victoria Police’s mission-critical radio system for essential communications by removing lower priority traffic from the radio network.

And importantly, the solution will help to increase the situational awareness, safety and productivity for frontline officers.

General duties officers, railway protective service officers, transit safety division officers, family violence units and highway patrol units will have access to the devices.

The first devices will be issued in the middle of 2017, with 8500 to be deployed by the end of 2019 based on operational need — and more than 10,000 within five years.

Motorola Solutions will lead a consortium of service providers to deliver the contract, including Optus — which will provide the carrier network solution — and CompNow, which will supply the Apple mobile devices, logistics and repair services.

A police officer holding a tablet device showing information about a driving offence, with a sad looking driver in the background

Victoria Police will roll out out a mobility device system similar to that used by Queensland Police, shown here. Image courtesy Queensland Police.

“Many public safety and enterprise businesses today are looking to improve the way they manage their daily workflows through the use of mobile applications that can simplify their most complex work challenges,” Motorola Solutions Vice President and Australian Managing Director Steve Crutchfield said.

“We will provide Victoria Police with a mobility managed service that is highly secure, reliable and helps to free up more time for frontline police to work in their communities where they are needed most.”

“Providing reliable and efficient mobile connectivity opens up a gateway of new capabilities for public safety agencies,” Optus Business Managing Director John Paitaridis added.

“Optus is pleased to collaborate with Victoria Police and Motorola Solutions to support digital connectivity and improved productivity of Victorian police while on the go.”

Technology plan

The Mobile Technology Project is part of the state government’s $227 million investment in police technology and represents a major goal within Victoria Police’s Capability Plan 2016–2025, which outlines the way the force aims to transform its service delivery to be more “agile, responsive, people-focused and connected”.

It’s also a key plank in the organisation’s Blue Paper: A Vision for Victoria Police in 2025, which outlines how the force is “improving capability through workforce reform and technology”.

The Capability Plan has as one of its goals, the implementation of an “encrypted digital police radio service to regional Victoria to provide for improved security and safety of police operations and service to the community”, as well as a program (called BlueConnect) that aims to strengthen intelligence and investigative responses through the implementation of technology such as body-worn cameras, mobile technology and an intelligence analytical tool.

The Capability Plan has a focus on securing “operational communications methods and systems, especially in country areas through mobility, with timely and efficient processing of information that increases frontline policing availability for patrol and tasking, employee safety and organisational/situational awareness”.

The $50 million mobility solution will achieve one of the main aims of the technology side of the Capability Plan, namely to equip police officers with a “mobile device that receives a real-time feed of information from a monitoring and assessment centre… and with tasks that focus on preventative activities and community priorities, such as patrolling crime hotspots, and responding to incidents as and when they occur.”

This will eventually include providing “video feeds from mobile and fixed sensor platforms and live-view beamed from aerial-view available for individual police and the monitoring assessment centre to track offenders and suspects, monitor public order issues and provide other operational intelligence”, along with “audio/video capture by individual police officers enabling supervisors to monitor the on-ground situation through clever use of voice, video and data analytics”.

The use of such technology will help achieve a situation where technology “is leveraged to improve quality and availability of information captured by in-field police”, with mobile devices “in police hands, providing single-point access and secure log-on to integrated information systems. Further, interactive electronic access to police social media, complementing face-to-face engagement in public safety partnerships with the community and other organisations.”

“We’re helping Victoria Police build a smarter, more modern force,” said Minister for Police Lisa Neville.

“We’re investing in technology, recruiting more officers and making sure our police can spend more time doing what they do best — protecting Victorians.”

Images courtesy Queensland Police and Gridstone.

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