December 30, 2010: Police in the Indian state of Punjab are being equipped with GPS equipped smart phones. Cell phones are enormously popular in India, but some the Punjabi policemen are not enthusiastic about getting the new Nokia E-5s. Costing nearly $300 each, the phones report their location every 30 seconds. The battery provides 18 hours of talk time and 29 days of standby power. For many policemen, this means no more hanging about or not completing patrol assignments. Software back at the police station automatically prepares logs of where every phone was during a tour. Commanders can easily compare the log to what constables were supposed to be doing.
But for most police, the phone will make their job easier. It has a full keyboard, 3G and wi-fi, plus memory of up to 32 GB. Software included makes it much easier to prepare incident reports, and the 5 megapixel allows them to easily attach photos. Commanders will always know where all their staff are, making it easier to redeploy them during an emergency. For Indian police forces, this is a big deal, particularly in light of the continuing threat from Islamic terrorists.
The U.S. Army has been using a similar system (Blue Force Tracker) since 2003, and has been studying the maneuver data of troops in combat. Unlike police, troops are much more tightly controlled by commanders, but there is still some ability to operate independently. Thus the police commanders find their new "blue force tracker" capabilities a more powerful tool than their military counterparts.