Fears of a repeat of the violent protests at the G8 summit in Genoa at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of GovernmentMeeting (CHOGM) in Brisbane may be allied with the addition of the Queensland Police Service's new mobile policestation to its security taskforce.
Drawing on Telstra-developed satellite technology, the mobile satellite system, that appears to the user like aterrestrial service, can be used in remote, emergency or siege situations to establish communication links with thepolice service computer networks.
The networks include access to criminal profiles, fingerprint, DNA or photographic records, crime reports, operationalmanuals and vehicle information.
Inspector Nev Cooper of the information system branch of the Queensland Police said he had no doubt the mobile stationwill be used during CHOGM as part of the security setup. "It will be available for use if an extra facility isrequired."
Mike Stoopman, manager information systems for QPS, said if an extra facility was required, it could be "dropped" intothe area and set up within an hour.
Stoopman said the self-contained system used the same technology as is used in police stations, except the unit hasits own generator, sits in a trailer and uses a satellite dish (which can be folded down when not in use).
"The facility allows police officers to have access to facilities that police in stations already have. It gives themall the functionality while out in the field."
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said at the launch that the hybrid satellite system was initially developed usingtechnology provided for fixed remote stations, where local telecommunications infrastructure was limited.
The Queensland State Government project, worth $280,000 to develop satellite connections for nine remote stations -Adavale, Bedourie, Hungerford, Jundah, Kynuna, Many Peaks, McKinlay, Yaraka and Torrens Creek - was completed earlierthis year. Tests of the mobile police station were carried out in February and March.
Stoopman said information available via the system is encrypted. Access to network applications by police officers,which are automatically authorised to log into the system, is dependent on individual security clearance.
"The logon is the same as they use in the police station. Some applications have a pass key and some have user wordtechnology. All applications have logout periods."
Cooper said it is a major advantage to have police and case information readily available during an investigation andto be able to enter information on the spot so an up-to-date view of the investigation is available police-wide.
"Doing an investigation without access to the police network - relying on radios and telephones - is very difficult.
Radios are still used in cars, but having the [satellite] technology available in cars is the next step."
Cooper said a system of this sort would certainly have assisted during the recent hunt for the man who attacked aBritish couple in the Northern Territory.
Stoopman said in emergency situations the facility could be lent to other states and if the NT had asked, "there wouldhave been an opportunity for us to ship the thing out there".
"Any police link can access the national police system, which then links into state systems, although it is hard tosay of how much benefit [the mobile system] would have been to them. That is a police issue, not a technology one."