Re: Have they picked the right tablet
"The bit I don't understand is how does an iPad make a policeman more productive?"
I'm not picking on you specifically, many here don't know how or why what the police are doing works, so it most certainly appears like it's all guff.
Firstly, you need a good, long, extensive statistical analysis of crime in the area. Then you look for patterns in that data. This is what Big Data is all about, an excel spreadsheet just won't cut it here. They're looking for patterns that can predict crimes before they happen. This is not about getting the coppers out there faster, or to catch the crims that would otherwise get away - that's what regular policing does.
This is about patrolling areas that might not be intuative to regular policing, areas that may not have been marked as high-crime areas - and these are not fixed enteties, it's a dynamic flowing change that moves with the regular reports and investigations of crimes though regular means.
In day-to-day use, before the coppers go out on their shift, the're told the specific areas to patrol - there might not be anything there, but their presence is doing the job. The regular shifts are not adversely affected, as this doesn't take long. Their next shift might involve a different area. This is not a sweeping change that will replace coppers with robots, it's using an expensive statistical tool to make them more effective. But it works, and it works well.
Now for the real question, what will the iPads do, that the regular meetings don't, in regards to crime reduction? Well, nothing. Things don't change *that* quickly that you need a live update.
But the iPads do two things that might be perceived as an advantage: Since you can get your routes via the iPad, you can either shorten or remove pre-shift meetings entirely. Also, the iPad has significant PR value, especially if you tell every man and their dog about it. So, you're saving a bit of time, and you're making the coppers look like they're doing something more, when in fact, the multi-million dollar statistical system and team of scientists are doing part of their work for them.