2 April 2019

ACT traffic police cars fitted with 360-degree cameras

| Lachlan Roberts
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ACT Policing today showed off the latest technology upgrades to its traffic operations fleet. Photo: George Tsotsos.

A fleet of traffic operations police cars in Canberra will be installed with cameras that provide 360-degree coverage as part of a new technology rollout by the ACT Government.

Two weeks after rolling out body-worn cameras that will be activated as soon as an officer pulls their firearm or taser gun, ACT Policing’s cars will be installed with a new camera system that will also improve evidence-gathering and enhance officer safety.

The camera system, which was custom made for ACT Policing, includes significant improvement to the automatic number plate recognition system, from one camera to three, and is capable of storing more than 20 hours of high definition video footage on board.

The new automatic number plate recognition system will identify and process plates on vehicles in front, beside, behind and approaching the traffic vehicle from the opposite direction.

The ACT is the only Australian jurisdiction to have five in-car cameras recording, which ACT Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said was a testament to the Government’s dedication to keeping Canberra safe.

“New technology for our traffic operations police cars is better equipping ACT Policing to catch criminals and keep Canberra roads safe,” Mr Gentleman said.

“We are supporting ACT Policing with new technology to ensure our officers have the tools and resources to effectively carry out their work into the future.”

Police are already using the new vehicles and Deputy Chief Police Officer commander Michael Chew said he was impressed by some of the early results.

“The cameras have already shown they clearly pick up when a driver isn’t wearing their seat belt or using a mobile phone, and the officer in the traffic car can rewind the video instantly to confirm their initial observation,” Commander Chew said.

“For officers to be able to provide a live video feed of a traffic stop or a hazardous event is a major step forward for police safety, and having the in-car video footage automatically download when the car returns to the police station is a big boost for efficiency.

“Any time we can increase our evidence-gathering capacity, our safety, and our efficiency, it is a good thing.”

In 2003, the ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to use RAPID (recognition and analysis of plates identified) and Mr Gentleman said they have been innovating ever since, as he believes the new technology will enable officers to administer more RBTs.

“Being able to detect unregistered cars and drivers more quickly makes Canberra’s roads safer,” he said. “Drivers will spend less time waiting at random breath testing sites, enabling police to test more drivers.

“ACT Policing is a leader in the application of number plate recognition technology.”

The new technology will also include a fixed touchscreen and a laptop/tablet paired to the car via secure WiFi along with automatic encrypted WiFi download of stored data upon the vehicle’s return to the operations centre.

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Detecting unregistered cars has nothing at all to do with safety. It’s about extracting hundreds of dollars from people who paid a few days late. Still just revenue raising rather than catching criminals.

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