WA Police signals $8.5M satellite upgrade

WA Police signals $8.5M satellite upgrade

Will plug communications black hole with Starlink.

Credit: Dreamstime

The Western Australian Police Force has tabled $8.5 million to upgrade its communication network using Starlink’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite. 

The Police Force is set to become the first law enforcement agency in the world to integrate the Elon Musk-developed equipment, which will cover 550 vehicles and 129 regional police stations. 

According to WA Police Minister Paul Papalia, police operating in remote locations will immediately be able to send and receive mission-critical information, access automatic number plate recognition data and real-time emergency alerts in some of the most remote locations. 

Papalia said the deal means officers will be able to livestream body-worn and vehicle dashboard camera footage to the Perth-based State Operations Command Centre, as well as aircraft and security camera vision. 

The force recently undertook a three-month trial with Starlink's equipment, including during the solar eclipse in Exmouth last March.

"Every Western Australian knows how difficult it can sometimes be to find phone and internet coverage in a State the size of WA,” Minister Papalia said. 

"The WA Police Force operates in one of the largest geographical police districts in the world and it's about to have complete communication coverage. This high-tech upgrade will boost the ability of police to solve crimes and coordinate large-scale emergency responses like remote searches for missing people. 

"For the first time, officers will have high-speed internet no matter where they are in the State, meaning regional WA police will have the same level of connectivity as their metropolitan colleagues. 

"Being able to live stream vehicle dashcam and body-worn camera vision will revolutionise the way our police operate in remote areas.” 

WA Police also recently awarded Motorola a contract to upgrade its public safety mobile application with Apple CarPlay functionality, claiming it was the “world’s first” public safety app with the capability.

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