The Huffington Post Australia
Police union officials from around Australia have called for millions of dollars in funding to build national criminal and intelligence databases, in the wake of recent attacks on police employees.
State, territory and federal police union presidents and officials met in Adelaide on Tuesday to speak on responses to terrorism in Australia. High on the agenda were calls for state and federal governments to fund a national case management system to track offenders, a national criminal intelligence network to replace a 30-year-old model and a dedicated mobile broadband network for emergency services.
Police Federation of Australia CEO Mark Burgess were among those who met to push the case for the upgrades. Burgess told The Huffington Post Australia police are forced to work with outdated or unwieldy technology to track criminals and share intelligence, or to navigate several different state-based systems in the absence of a uniform national network.
“What we’ve been proposing is supported strongly by what’s happened in the last year,” Burgess said, alluding to the shooting of NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng earlier this month and the stabbing of two Melbourne police officers in September 2014.
“There are a number of examples we’re aware of, examples we can’t talk about publicly… If these systems were available, we might not have been able to prevent everything, but police would have been far better prepared.”
“We’re operating a number of systems which are state-based and a national system which is quite cumbersome. These are 30-year-old systems. There should be one new national criminal intelligence system,” he said.
He envisaged a national intelligence system that would be accessible from every policing jurisdiction in Australia, with varying levels of access for different police units — “there would be significant holdings only accessible by the most senior anti-terrorism police, but it would be a national collaboration into one national system,” he said.
Burgess said a dedicated broadband channel for emergency services was also crucial in sharing information quickly between units from handheld cameras or phones and body-worn or car-mounted cameras.
“The police officers on the street would be able to receive and transmit vision and data instantaneously around the country and back to command points,” he said.
“This would be enormously beneficial in counter-terrorism and organised crime, and natural disasters.”
Burgess said the systems would not only aid police in anti-terrorism operations, but have flow-on effects in the sectors of domestic violence, drugs, organised crime and tracking illegal firearms.
“This is a national issue that requires a national response.”