Police in command from new centre

A police national command centre used for the first time during this year's royal tour has been officially opened, with the centre able to view what frontline officers are seeing via their iPhones.

The National Command and Co-ordination Centre at police national headquarters in Wellington was focused on having the right staff in the right place at the right time as part of the police priority on preventing crime before it happened, Commissioner Mike Bush said.

The technology allowed every officer with an iPhone to provide live video feed to the centre.

"If there is an incident evolving - a crime scene, a motor vehicle accident, an emergency - they can actually relay that live via FaceTime from their device back here," Bush said.

The centre was used for the first time when Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visited the country with Prince George this year.

"For the royal tour, we could monitor the motorcades," Bush said. Just through an iPhone, we could see where they were going, where they were at."

The cutting-edge technology was based on centres he had seen overseas.

The centre did not currently provide access to live CCTV footage from around the country, but police saw such a resource as having benefits from a crime prevention, community safety, and emergency management perspective, a police spokesman said.

The police would watch with interest ongoing development in the use of CCTV in Auckland, where district police had a memorandum of understanding in place with local government agencies to access footage.

This could form the basis for similar arrangements elsewhere for police to access public facing CCTV, but any use of footage would comply with a "raft of legislative and privacy requirements", the spokesman said.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said technology used by the police was expanding to produce a safer community.
"And this is just the beginning. We've seen a rollout of the district command centres; now we have the national command centre," she said.

"What we're now seeing is from the commissioner to the policeman or woman on the beat, there is now active communication."

The 12,000 staff around the country had been striving for consistency in their response to preventing and solving crimes, and the centre allowed decisions to be made at the national level, while understanding the pressures at the district level, Tolley said.

The national centre was developed over 12 weeks and cost about $400,000.

The Dominion Post