Satellite technology to help police solve crimes quicker

  • WA Police will soon have access to high-speed internet anywhere in the State, using low Earth orbit satellite technology
  • World-first rollout to deliver metropolitan equivalent police communication to regional Western Australia
  • The multi-million-dollar upgrade will allow for constant contact and enable officers to send or receive video in real-time across all of WA
  • 550 vehicles and 129 regional police stations are set to benefit

The Western Australian Police Force is set to become the first law enforcement agency in the world to integrate low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite technology with its current communication network, giving officers high-speed internet anywhere in WA.

Making up one third of the continent, WA has one of the largest police jurisdictions in the world – and just 26 per cent of the State has mobile phone or radio coverage.

The $8.5 million upgrade will enable police operating in remote locations to instantly send and receive mission critical information, access automatic number plate recognition data and real-time emergency alerts.

It also means officers will be able to livestream body worn and vehicle dashboard camera footage to the Perth-based State Operations Command Centre, as well as aircraft and security camera vision.

A recent 12-week trial highlighted the law enforcement benefits of utilising in-orbit spacecraft communication networks.

Officers working from isolated police stations in Kintore, Balgo, Burringurrah, Kalumburu and Jigalong benefited from access to high-speed internet.

LEO communication equipment was also tested by Water Police and during high-profile operations such as Exmouth’s Total Solar Eclipse event in April.

The satellite technology will be accessible from 550 WA Police vehicles, and close to 130 regional stations benefiting day-to-day patrols as well as specialist teams such as the Regional Operations Group, Tactical Response Group and Regional Enforcement Unit.

As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:

“Every Western Australian knows how difficult it can sometimes be to find phone and internet coverage in a State the size of WA.

“The WA Police Force operates in one of the largest geographical police districts in the world and it’s about to have complete communication coverage.

“This high-tech upgrade will boost the ability of police to solve crimes and co-ordinate large scale emergency responses like remote searches for missing people.

“For the first time, officers will have high-speed internet no matter where they are in the State, meaning regional WA police will have the same level of connectivity as their metropolitan colleagues.

“Being able to livestream vehicle dashcam and body worn camera vision will revolutionise the way our police operate in remote areas.

“It will improve situational awareness for officers on the frontline, helping them to make informed decisions during emergency situations.”

As stated by Police Commissioner Col Blanch:

“Our Police Force is the first in the world to roll out this capability, agency wide.

“In a jurisdiction as vast and geographically challenging as WA, communications has always been a challenge.

“Going forwards, the Western Australia Police Force will have the best communications capability of any jurisdiction in Australia, if not the world.

“The technology means our officers in regional WAwill have real time contact and the real time support fromthe entire Western Australia Police Force.

“We can now watchlive stream body worn cameras and dashcams from the State Operations Command Centre in Perth, and provide specialist support to our frontline officers anywhere in the State, at anytime.

“Not only will this increase community safety, it will increase the safety of our officers.

“Real time communications means a real time capability to respond, 24/7.”

/Public Release. View in full here.