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iPads help Aussie police issue traffic tickets

If you get stopped for a traffic violation near Sydney, Australia, don't be surprised to see the officer pull out an iPad mini.

According to the Australian tech site Delimiter, the New South Wales police force has adopted the iPads as part of a four-week trial. The devices are running an app called "Mobile Notices," developed by Gridstone. It will help traffic officers retrieve driver history, photos, vehicle specifics and license information from police computer systems. The 4G/WiFi-ready iPads are locked down and can be wiped if any unauthorized access is attempted.

If a citation is issued, the driver can opt to receive a PDF of the ticket via email or text, delivered right then and there (provided that the officer is within range of a compatible network). Lembit Pikkat, director of Grindstone, notes that no information gathered by the remote officers is stored on their iPads. Instead, it's all sent to the central police database for secure storage.

"If the trial is a success and the app fully deployed, it will give NSW Police the opportunity to spend more time on frontline policing and less on administrative tasks back at the station -- which will have a positive impact on both road safety and officer effectiveness," according to Superintendent Karen McCarthy. The idea for Mobile Notices was proposed and developed in part by frontline officers.

Apple's profile of the Redlands Police Department is an example of the device's increasing popularity among law enforcement. In some cases, it has replaced the wired terminals in police cars, and has given other officers an electronic version of the Miranda warning to use during an arrest.

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