Digital Transformation in Government Insight #47:
BlueConnect — digital transformation for Victoria Police
Victoria Police is in the process of major technology changes as part of its BlueConnect initiative.
What is BlueConnect?
BlueConnect is a technology reform initiative that aims to ensure Victoria Police is using, and maximising, available technologies. Technology is listed as one of eight transformation pathways identified for Victoria Police (see the Victoria Police Capability Framework 2016-2025) and the current focus comes off the back of five years (up until July 2016) when the Victoria Police received no ICT funding at all. This was reported in an IoT Hub article that covered a session given by Victoria Police’s BlueConnect Program Director, Dallas Reilly, at an SAS Analytics Insights briefing.
During this briefing Reilly talked about the plans to create an integrated system, with the project including “...equipping all officers and patrol cars with video cameras that could be used to both record incidents and to gather witness and victim statements that could be used in court.”
The technology aims to provide a more streamlined policing process that will deliver multiple benefits to the police force. For example, when answering a call an integrated system might give the officers directions to the location, give them details on the residents (such as criminal records), and provide them with information on any vehicles registered to that address. When they put on the sirens, bodycams and a car camera would activate, streaming live video back to the station.
A fully integrated system would also allow officers to start the admin procedure in the car. Reilly said, “By 2020 on the way back to the station we expect to be able to use voice recognition to enable you to start preparing a case, electronically integrating video from the body worn camera, the car camera, the Taser camera and the phone. By the time you get back to the station most of the job will be done.”
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t embrace a little less admin?!
What’s happening now?
While BlueConnect is part of a broader, long-term digital transformation project, there are many elements being addressed now. For example, according to Victoria Police’s Annual Plan 2017/2018, the areas of technology currently being actioned are:
- Police assistance line and online reporting
- Cybersecurity upgrade
- Internet/intranet upgrades
- Body-worn cameras
- Mobile technology and intelligence analytics
Earlier this month, The Mandarin reported on the rollout of apps to Transit police and Protective Services Officers in Melbourne’s outer western suburbs. This is stage one of the planned rollout to 10,000 police officers over the next five years.
Salsa Digital’s take
BlueConnect certainly has the power to deliver some huge benefits to Victoria Police, and to the Victorian community. Like many areas of government, policing can benefit greatly from harnessing new technological advances. Police forces around Australia are already using technology to enhance their services (e.g. the drone example from Queensland police mentioned in our blog on drones at work in Australia) and overseas police forces are also embracing digital transformation. Police around the world now:
- Use social media to engage, and work with, the public
- Increasingly deploy bodyworn cameras on officers (you may like to read a recent Australian Institute of Criminology report on bodyworn cameras)
- Use automatic license plate readers
- Have access to more sophisticated databases (e.g. DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans)
- Use drones (including for patrols in some countries)
- Use facial recognition systems
Law enforcement is an area that has seen many breakthroughs in the past (e.g. forensics!) and will continue to evolve with technological advances. We’ll be fascinated to see where things are in five years’ time.