SA Police get $11.6 million in tech funding

South Australian 2014-15 state budget delivers money for facial recognition, virtual reality

The South Australian Police (SAPOL) have been allocated $11.6 million for a number of technology projects including facial recognition, virtual reality driving simulator and firearms training simulator in the SA 2014-15 Budget.

SAPOL will get $1.5 million over the next four years for facial recognition technology which can scan faces in a crowd and match images to an existing database.

During 2015, the police will receive $380,000 for a firearms training simulator. This is designed to help officers test their response times to situations, such as an armed robbery, in a simulated environment.

In addition, a virtual reality driving simulator will be used by SAPOL to train for emergencies, such as stolen vehicle pursuits. Funding of $150,000 has been allocated in 2015 for the simulator.

SA citizens are also set to benefit with the announcement of new smartphone apps which will allow members of the public to report crimes to the SAPOL website.

The first app will be developed to report suspicious behaviour. A total of $152,000 has been allocated over four years for development/rollout of the app.

An additional $272,000 has been allocated for SA councils to trial a graffiti/property damage app with citizens.

According to SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, the technology will give the state’s police an “additional edge” when taking on the bad guys.

“SAPOL do an excellent job protecting the community and they do so without knowing what they will face from one day to the next,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this year SAPOL rolled out 150 mobile fingerprint scanners.

The scanners connect via Bluetooth to an Android smartphone. A captured fingerprint is queried against the national Crimtrac database's National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS). If the print matches, details of the record can be displayed on the smartphone.

These details can include an image, the address of the person being fingerprinted, whether they are the subject of outstanding warrants or bail conditions, and additional notes such as if they have "possibly violent tendencies," said SAPOL.

The South Australian government is seeking to shave millions of dollars off IT spending, with the state's budget projecting savings starting at $700,000 in 2015-16, rising to $1.52 million in 2016-17 and $2.03 million in 2017-18.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags facial recognitionSouth Australian GovernmentSouth Australia Police (SAPOL)virtual realitySA Budget

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