Brainstorming around mobility and readiness are pretty hot topics within the ICT Service Centre of the New Zealand Police. Among its many and varied tasks, a 200-strong national ICT team is looking at a fast-growing toolbox of innovative products and equipment to help deliver increased safety, efficiency and mobility for more than 8,000 front-line officers throughout New Zealand.
A long-standing partnership with the Microsoft Innovation Centre has helped contribute to one of NZ Police’s strategic goals: technology and innovation. The Centre’s vision of helping accelerate the progress of innovative projects for governmen-trelated agencies has been expressed through significant collaboration with the NZ Police. One innovation of note includes prototyping mobile fingerprinting and identifying its potential for the future. Now the innovation bar has been raised in the mobility space, through the exploration of a Mobile Incident Locator tool giving NZ Police an operational command overview while delivering benefits of safer and more effective policing.
Largely radio communications-based, NZ Police wanted to evolve its ability to track individual police vehicles into a person-based location environment, enabled by a Mobile Incident Locator.
A partner to make it happen
As a long-standing Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Intergen was quick to put up its hand to partner, and to beselected by Microsoft for the project.
Philip Plimmer, Intergen Practice Lead, says: “We love pushing the boundaries with new ‘toys’ and this project had a lot of challenging pieces of technology to put together to come up with a compelling story supporting NZ Police’s vision for mobility and real-time management of resources. This was very much about wrapping innovation soundly around what would be an intuitive working tool, harnessing the smarts of integrating Microsoft Window Mobile GPS with Microsoft Virtual Earth and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.
Let’s take you to the crime scene
When the NZ Police respond to a major incident, such as a report of a gunman in an area, there is a need for the Police Communications Centres to be able to coordinate police and other resources effectively and safely. What the Mobile Incident Locator (MIL) delivers in this situation is significant – informed decisions can instantly be made with regard to deploying the closest resources. The MIL brings a lot of intelligence capability together onto ‘one page’ and ensures the officers’ safety is paramount. Hand-held Windows GPS mobiles provide the basis of a real-time command operational picture. Highly visual, the MIL map automatically displays and tracks officers in the area with a presence bubble and calculates estimated arrival times based on Virtual Earth normal driving speeds with officers ranked by nearest proximity.
Custom map layers are supported by a Readynet database of information which includes contact details for building key holders and building layouts.
NZ Police ICT Manager Strategy and Architecture, Kerri Broadhurst, says: “We see this as a valuable tool in our workforce management strategy, giving us more accountability of our resources.”
Prototype packed with potential
The MIL has been well received by the NZ Police, and has significant synergies with their desire to promote innovation around intelligence in the mobility space.
Broadhurst comments: “This project lends significant weight to our direction of leveraging off a mobility strategy for the future. We will definitely use the learnings from this project; it helps us present a good business case and complements our thinking around our digital radio network APCO P25 capabilities and other mobile solutions.”
Innovative tools that allow police to do their business with increased mobility and increased public visibility are good news, contributing to the New Zealand Police vision of “Safer Communities Together."