Australia’s information-sharing agency for law enforcement has taken the first step in a $9.1 million project to establish a national electronic ballistics network for police, as part of a federal effort to combat organised and gang-related crime.
The project, run by CrimTrac, will establish an Australian Ballistics Identification Network (ABIN). It was announced in the federal 2013-14 budget, and will “support police activities to address illegal firearms by providing national, state and territory law enforcement agencies with advanced technology to undertake ballistics analysis of firearms.”
It will enable police from all over the country to access a database of every weapon recovered by police from crimes and compare and collect the images.
The Government has put aside $4.5 million in funding for the project over 2013-14, and $9.1 million in total.
CrimTrac has been asked to have the system up and running by July 1 next year. It approached the market late Friday last week for the equipment and networking capability involved in the project.
The automated ballistic identification solution will extend existing capabilities in use by the NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Federal police.
The four agencies currently collect and compare ballistic evidence via an IBIS Trax 3D solution by ballistics identification vendor Forensic Technology WAI. The solution mainly benefits the NSW and Federal police, but is limited for the South Australia and Queensland agencies.
Additionally, Western Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania police forces do not use the system and are forced to utilise a manual matching process to identify ballistics evidence.
The ABIN project will build on the capabilities of the IBIS 3D Trax solution to ensure every police agency across the country can electronically collect and compare ballistic imagery from all other Australian police agencies.
“The ABIN will bridge the current shortfall of cross border comparison of ballistic evidence, necessary to develop a detailed picture of illicit firearm crime in Australia, and the trafficking of firearms across jurisdiction borders,” CrimTrac said in tender documents.
“[It] aims to replace the arduous component of manually identifying similar pieces of previous submitted ballistic evidence, and remove geographical limitations restricting regular comparison of evidence beyond state, territory and, into the future, international borders."
The ABIN will store upwards of 50,000 2D and 3D images of projectile surface, cartridge case and shot shell, and will need to be scalable to deal with national demand.
The existing correlation server located at the NSW Police Force headquarters will serve as the national hub. The state police forces will be connected by a network between the proposed seven sites.