Satellite tech provides state-wide connectivity for WA Police

Monday, 06 November, 2023

Satellite tech provides state-wide connectivity for WA Police

The Western Australian Police Force has announced that it will soon 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 the state. The 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.

Making up one-third of the Australian continent, WA has one of the largest police jurisdictions in the world — yet just 26% 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, including 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.

In a recent 12-week trial, 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.

“This high-tech upgrade will boost the ability of police to solve crimes and coordinate large-scale emergency responses like remote searches for missing people,” said WA Police Minister Paul Papalia.

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

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

“We can now … live 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 any time.

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

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