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Victoria Police invests in police technology and rolls out trial on body worn cameras

On Feb 13, Minister for Police Lisa Neville announced the commencement of the first stage of the Victoria Police state-wide roll out of body worn cameras.

According to the press release, a trial of 200 cameras will be rolled out to police in Epping and Ballarat in April this year.

“Information is the lifeblood of modern policing, and this technology will build on our huge investments in frontline policing and help keep Victorians safe,” Minister for Police Lisa Neville stated.

Body worn cameras will support better and more efficient justice outcomes and aim to reduce trauma for victims of family violence.

Police will use the technology to gather evidence which may be used in court for greater transparency and decision making including the ability to capture real-time video evidence of the scene of an incident.

The trial is part of the Labour Government’s plan to deliver 11,000 cameras by 2020 to police across the state of Victoria, Australia.

The investment forms a part of the Government’s AUS$596 million Public Safety Package announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 and supports recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence which called for the trial and evaluation of body worn cameras to collect statements from victims to use as evidence in court.

The Public Safety Package includes funding for new police, new state-of-the-art equipment, mobile technology, and a AUS$15 million 24/7 Monitoring and Assessment Centre to ensure police can rapidly respond to major incidents.

“Victoria Police will soon have some of the most advanced technology in the country thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s investment in new equipment and intelligence,” Minister Neville added.

Other states in Australia, including New South Wales and Queensland, have also adopted the technology with great success. However, this trial in Victoria is one of the most comprehensive roll-outs of body worn camera across the country.

In August last year, the Labour Government introduced new laws to ensure police officers can legally use body-worn cameras in their daily duties.

The Justice Legislation (Body-worn Cameras and Other Matters) Act 2017 is the first tranche of legislation to support the use of body‐worn cameras as the devices are rolled-out in coming months.

Victoria Police has been leveraging technology for smarter policing across the state. The Government’s investment in police technology is designed to create a more modern and efficient police force and to ensure officers have a greater presence in the community by spending more time proactively policing and less time being station-bound.

In November last year, Protective Services Officers (PSOs) and Transit Police Officers based in the Wyndham were equipped with new mobile devices and tablets.

“This will ensure our PSOs have even faster access to the best information and intelligence available, especially when they’re out patrolling a train platform and are away from a computer,” Minister Neville explained.

The programme marked the start of a state-wide deployment of the devices with 8,500 to be in the field by the end of 2019 with additional devices to be deployed to support new recruits and organisational needs.

It was part of the Andrews Labor Government’s investment of more than AUS227 million to modernise and upgrade Victoria Police technology, with AUD$81.2 million delivered for the Mobile Technology Project.

Feature image: Takver/ CC BY SA 2.0

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