Funding increase keeps police on the street


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WA's police force are set for more time on the streets thanks to a $34.6 million funding boost.

Mason Smith, Reporter

A $34.6 million roll-out of personal mobile devices is hoped to afford the WA police more time on the street and less time confined in an office.

The funding will deliver 3,500 handheld computer devices, with a range of applications, that will ensure police officers have access to crucial policing functions while in the field.

The personal computers will allow police officers to issue on-the-spot infringements, record statements, log crime scene data and perform identity checks. All of this without needing to complete paperwork in an office.

WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts has said that she is “delighted” that the McGowan Government has been able to fund new and exciting technology for our police.

“It is important for our police to be equipped with the latest technology.

“Regrettably, under the Barnett-Harvey Government, investment in technology was slashed and WA Police were left in a digital dark age,” Roberts said.

Roberts not only revealed the financial benefits of the roll-out but also mentioned how the funding will improve the amount of time our police will spend on our streets.

“[the devices] will be a game changer in terms of saving police time and avoiding repeats of what they have already done.

“These smart devices will streamline police work and free up officers to spend more time in the community,” Roberts added

The funding comes after police officers made an urgent plea for support at the West Australian Police Union’s (WAPU) 2017 conference.

At the conference, officers stressed the need for updated IT hardware, fix broken applications and reduce manual administration.

In addition to union concerns, the WA Police Force’s 2018 Report called for the need to “identify areas for improvement and innovation”, so they can “remain responsive and adaptive in a changing local, national and international environment.”

The report also highlighted the importance of WA police infrastructure and technologies to “remain flexible and robust to respond to demand now and in the future”.

$15.4 million has already been committed to the roll-out of personal body armour and $1.9 million allocated to number plate recognition technology.

Additionally, the McGowan Government is in the process of investing more than $5.9 billion into the WA Police Force over the next four years, as part of its commitment to community safety.

In a recent media conference, Minister Roberts reaffirmed the McGowan Government’s desire to ensure WA police officers are well-resourced and kept out of the “dark age”.

“It [the funding] reflects the McGowan Government’s commitment to properly equipping our police and ensuring a modern and flexible Police Force.”

WA Police Union President Harry Arnott believes that the roll-out of all these new technologies will be of great assistance to not only the police force, but WA citizens as well.

The mobility project will greatly assist our members to spend more time on the frontline attending jobs and assisting the community. We believe this technology will see a significant increase in productivity for the WA Police Force,” Arnott said.

Although they have not been fully briefed on the specifics of the roll-out, Arnott said the WAPU is “looking forward to being told more about this project” in the near future.

Ms Roberts said she hopes that the funding and eventual roll-out of the smart devices will better equip police officers “both today and in the future.”