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Victoria Labor promises new police radios

by Chris Huckstepp •
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Victoria’s regional police will receive new digital radios should Labor claim office at the 29 November 2014 election, however, the Government has attacked the cost of the pledge as $40 million “off the mark”.

Labor cited a recent Auditor-General report into Emergency Response ICT Systems as proof of the need for “new digital, in-car mobile and portable radios with a secure and encrypted network.”  

Auditor-General John Doyle found that the StateNet Mobile Radio (SMR), an analogue network used by rural emergency services, is inferior to Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) used by metropolitan police as a communication tool. SMR is vulnerable to eavesdropping by radio scanners which can now be downloaded onto smartphone devices.

"The funding will be most centrally provided to replace the old analogue devices to digital devices and then switch the network from an analogue to a secure digital network," said Labor’s Wade Noonan to the ABC.

However, the Government said that Labor’s $10 million pledge was $40 million short of the actual cost, and that “the Napthine Government has been working with Victoria Police and Treasury to make sure there was a properly costed plan in place.”

"We have already made a substantial contribution to strengthening communications for our emergency services, delivering the $66 million CFA regional radio dispatch service earlier this year," Mr Wells said.

The CFA’s digital radio communications network that will enable nearly 500 brigades to communicate directly with dispatch operators. Telstra, with the support of Motorola Solutions, are responsible for the new infrastructure in addition to maintaining the regional Victoria emergency services digital radio service.

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