NSW traffic cops a mobile phone trial

The NSW Police Association and Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is to trial a mobile communications project already under way between Queensland Transport and Queensland Police.

The trial is scheduled to begin at the end of June, and it is understood one is already under way in New Zealand.

According to Paul Summergreene, principal manager, business improvement branch of Queensland Transport, the government body has been working with suppliers MITS and Telxon on delivering the solution to other organisations in Victoria and Western Australia.

The ongoing project in Queensland has seen the installation of Maverick mobile computers and Telxon handsets in more than 200 police patrol cars to improve mobile data communications. The Maverick was developed by TechComm IT, a unit of Utility Services (see "Computers mobilised for Qld's thin blue line", CW July 10, 1998, p23).

According to Summergreene, since the project began in 1996, Queensland Transport has invested around $3.8 million and seen a return of $20 million.

"We definitely got a profit line," Summergreene said, adding that the organisation has noticed an 83 per cent increase in productivity.

"With the system we've developed now, we've had a huge growth in productivity, so we believe it will become the base model in Queensland Police and Queensland Transport," Summergreene said.

The project is currently in its third phase, he said. Telxon PTC 1134 terminals have been installed with 900MHZ radio transmitters that link the handsets to the Maverick PC in the boot of the patrol car. Police officers are able to access police records on the spot when out on the road.

While Queensland Transport is happy with the current solution, Summergreene said the organisation would certainly consider migrating to something better suited to its needs.

He said although Queensand Transport considered handset devices from other suppliers, including Symbol, the decision to use Telxon was "an easy choice".

Handsets running on the 2.4 spectrum were "exceptionally weak in relation to distance and interference", Summergreene said. "The only one that would meet our needs was the 900."

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