Victorian country police will be able to better protect their communities after Minister for Police, Wade Noonan announced the Andrews Labor Government’s first Budget would include money to replace outdated analogue radios with a new secure digital system.
The Government will commit $11.5 million of new money for the digital radios, Mr Noonan said today at a visit to Morwell Police Station.
Victoria Police will also reprioritise $23.8 million from their operational budget to upgrade to the new digital system. This money includes savings from an existing radio project and redirection of funds from the current analogue service.
This means country police will now have the same technology used by their Melbourne colleagues.
The digital system will include in-car, mobile and portable radios with an encrypted network.
The funding announcement responds to long-term concerns that outdated radios let members of the public listen in on police operations via a smartphone app or scanner, potentially compromising the safety of country police officers.
Work on removing the analogue system will begin in July. The digital radios will be phased in from January 2017.
Mr Noonan first learned of police safety concerns last year when officers made him aware of it on a visit to Sale.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police, Wade Noonan
“Criminals are listening into police conversations, compromising the safety of officers and their ability to catch offenders. The Andrews Labor Government is fixing that in its first Budget.’’
“No longer will criminals or eavesdroppers have more sophisticated communication than country police.’’
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing
“The previous Coalition Government would not listen to the concerns of country police. The Andrews Labor Government will eliminate this risk for police.’’