About 9000 police iPhones nationwide can now beam live video
feeds directly into national police headquarters in
Wellington, as part of a new centralised command centre that
was unveiled today.
But Police Commissioner Mike Bush is downplaying any 'Big
Brother' implications, saying he had full confidence that
police would not abuse the legal framework around lawful
Mr Bush and Police Minister Anne Tolley formally opened the
National Command and Co-ordination Centre (NCCC) with bold
claims that it will increase crime prevention and help
towards the police goal of reducing all crime by 15 per cent.
The centre has already been operative for the royal visit by
Prince William, his wife Kate and their son Prince George in
April, and the national recall of all psychoactive substances
The centre has large computer monitors that feature live
feeds of the 30,000 calls to police communications centres
per day, and a corresponding geo-spatial map showing where
police resources are deployed in every district.
Mr Bush said it enabled police to monitor blackspots for car
accidents, burglaries, areas where high-priority victims
live, and hotspots that show, for example, a spate of car
thefts. National headquarters could then decide to employ a
more visible police presence in those areas to increase
The centre also keeps track of national events such as the
current Junior Rugby World Championship, the upcoming Cricket
World Cup, or next year's Junior U-20 FIFA World Cup.
Mr Bush also showcased a new capability where frontline staff
use their iPhones as cameras, feeding live video into the
There are about 9000 constabulary staff, all with iPhones.
"We do that regularly ... if there is an incident evolving, a
crime scene, a motor vehicle accident, an emergency, and they
can actually relay that live via Facetime from their device
back to here.
"[For the royal tour] we could monitor the motorcades through
an iPhone and see where they are going, where they were at.
We can't do anything that's outside of Search and
Surveillance legislation, so it must be legal. Our staff are
well trained ... so they would never abuse that legislation."
Responding to a suggestion that a possible 9000 live cameras
had ominous Big Brother implications, Mr Bush said: "It's our
staff, so where our staff are, there are no issues."
Mrs Tolley said there was some "nervousness" around how the
NCCC would affect the autonomy of district command centres.
"That's something the commissioner has to manage, and there
will be times on a national level when the commissioner will
have to step in."
She said having real time information would lead to more
"Even if it's just holding up an iPhone and having a look at
the crowd , you're able to see the crowd yourself, rather
than someone describing it."
The NCCC was set up in 12 weeks at a cost of $400,000.
- Derek Cheng of APNZ