The New Zealand Police are trialling the use of iPhones on the frontline to record victim video statements at the scene of certain family violence incidents.
Police in Palmerston North are piloting the programme using iPhone 6+ devices.
“The Government is committed to improving its response to family violence and Police are at the frontline of how we can do this,” says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“I’m pleased to see Police finding innovative ways to use technology to make their response more efficient and more responsive to the needs of victims,” she says.
“It will never be easy for a victim of family violence to face their abuser or to have to repeat their experience so it’s important we find ways to provide additional support to victims during this difficult process,” Adams continues.
“The intent of this pilot is to provide a better service to victims of family violence and this aligns with initiatives the Government already has underway to improve the way we address family violence, better support victims and hold offenders to account,” she says.
Police Minister Michael Woodhouse says the initiative builds on input from frontline officers who, through a series of nationwide workshops, provided ideas for improving policing into the future.
“During the pilot, the video statements will be actively used to help investigate and prosecute family violence incidents,” Woodhouse says.
“The benefits of good quality video statements include less likelihood of recanted statements, earlier guilty pleas and reduced court time,” he explains.
“For frontline police officers, the intent is to expand the use of mobility devices like iPhones and improve productivity by reducing time spent on written statements – in keeping with their ‘more street than station’ approach,” adds Woodhouse.
The pilot will run for four months and conclude on 31 March 2016. An evaluation will follow to inform next steps.
Justice Sector agencies, including the Ministry of Justice, Corrections and the Judiciary have been involved in the initiative’s development.