New Zealand cops to get iPhones and iPads after Apple wins major government account

iphonesThough it’s admittedly early days for BlackBerry’s new BB10 platform, the company will nevertheless already be looking to win new contracts with government agencies around the world, as well as renew existing ones.

At least one has already passed them by, however, with New Zealand Police this week announcing a plan to equip 6,000 of its cops with iPhones and iPads.

According to the New Zealand Herald, just over 6,000 frontline officers will be receiving an iPhone for their job, with 3,900 of those set to get an iPad too. The decision to hand out smartphones and tablets was taken following a year-long trial involving 100 cops.

The contract, which is being run by Vodafone, is part of a move to update the force’s technology infrastructure, with the government reportedly spending around $160 million over the next 10 years on the project.

The decision is obviously of some significance in the Australasian nation – population 4.5 million – with the country’s prime minister, John Key, commenting publicly on the move.

“Using mobile technology means officers will be able to check offenders’ details, like photographs and bail conditions, where and when they need to, rather than having to drive to a station to access information, or using the police radio,” Key said, adding, “This means more time to focus on stopping crime and protecting communities, and less time each day on administration duties at their desks.”

There was, of course, a time when the BlackBerry was the go-to device for government agencies, though in recent years, that trend has shifted dramatically in favor of mobile products offered by Apple and makers of Android devices.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), for example, last October announced its intention to stop using handsets made by BlackBerry, switching its workforce of more than 17,000 to Apple’s iPhone.

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