Police cars to be fitted with tracking systems

Last updated 05:00 09/10/2012

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Up to 3000 police cars are to be fitted with GPS tracking devices by Auckland company Imarda in a move police say will improve officer safety.

Imarda said it had been chosen ahead of 14 other vendors for the vehicle system, subject to final approval of the investment.

Similar contracts suggest the deal is likely to be worth several million dollars. Imarda employs about 35 staff and is majority-owned by New Zealanders, through an Australian holding company. Vice-president Kevin Roberts said the deal would be "significant" for the firm but smaller than some contracts it had won in the United States.

Police fitted GPS tracking systems to 38 Auckland patrol cars in a 2004 trial but these are no longer working. The vehicles in the Auckland trial communicated their location back to a police communications centre via Telecom's now-defunct CDMA network.

A spokesman said GPS tracking would provide dispatchers with a more accurate picture of where vehicles were. "This enhances officer safety in emergency situations and can improve decision-making on which unit to assign to a job."

The Auckland trial on one occasion helped police recover a stolen police car.

There have also been suggestions GPS data could be stored and looked at later, for example to review police chases.

Imarda has sold more than 70,000 tracking systems to customers including Woolworths and Boral in Australia and "one of the world's largest freight carriers in the US".

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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