Access to Technology

The Police Association welcomes the introduction of new technology to better enable police to do their job of protecting the community. The acquisition of mobile devices and body-worn cameras will improve frontline responsiveness, accountability and e ciency by ensuring information can be captured and shared quickly.

Improved systems for synthesising intelligence will drive substantial efficiencies and enable more effective approaches to disrupting crime.

1. Automated Number Plate Recognition

Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology will deliver operational efficiencies by enabling Victoria Police to identify, in real-time, dangerous and unauthorised drivers as well as vehicles related to persons of interest. However, access to ANPR technology is currently confined to Highway Patrol Units.

Recommendation:

  • Consideration needs to be given to broadening access of ANPR technology to police units in regional Victoria where the distribution of police resources is sparse compared to the Melbourne metropolitan area.

 

2. Providing a Security and Surveillance Cordon around Melbourne

A city as large and sophisticated as Melbourne cannot rely on its physical police resources to provide the security and surveillance monitoring it requires at all times to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Since 1997, the City of Melbourne has monitored and expanding the network of CCTV cameras across the Central Business District. Police have had the benefit of appropriate access to security vision from these cameras when required. This technology is, however, limited by its requirement for continuous surveillance by operators who are not police officers.

Policing in Victoria has great potential to leverage of the benefits available from this existing network if technology is supplemented with advanced emerging technologies, examples of which can be seen in other international cities.

The introduction of facial recognition technology, ANPR at strategic locations and algorithmic scanning would significantly enhance reporting to police of high-risk events, such as atypical vehicular or pedestrian movements.

Recommendation:

  • That consideration be given to enhancing technologies available to assist police monitor and respond to incidents in the City of Melbourne.

 

3. Mobile Devices

The rollout of mobile devices is currently being coordinated as part of the Victoria Police ‘Blue Connect’ project.

While it’s anticipated that most frontline police will be able to access personal-issue devices, it appears that officers attached to Criminal Investigation Units will not routinely obtain such access as part of the rollout of this equipment.

Clearly, this equipment has utility for all frontline police including detectives who regularly work in the field. Consideration should therefore be given to extending the rollout to include an allocation of devices in future budgets to criminal investigation units.

Recommendation:

• All operational members including specialist and frontline support units such as Criminal Investigation Units and Crime Scene Services Officers be issued with mobile devices to enable them to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.