Victoria Police could implement an $86 million rollout of live video and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to its fleet of 220 highway patrol vehicles if it accepts the recommendations laid out in a report by Deloitte.
An 88 page report by Deloitte, which cost taxpayers $115,000, recommends the rollout of live video streaming and ANPR technology to the Victoria Police highway patrol fleet.
ANPR technology has been trialled by six Victoria Police highway patrol vehicles as part of a pilot program called BlueNet. The six vehicles are spread out over a high-density region that includes Brimbank, Geelong, Shepparton, Frankston, Prahran and State Highway Patrols.
The system allows police vehicles to instantly check multiple vehicle registrations and flag a driver of interest, or a vehicle that is unregistered. The system then immediately alerts the officer and allows them to take action.
Over the period of 1st January 2014 to 31st March 2015, the pilot program scanned more than 7.2 million vehicles over an 18,000 hour period. The trial resulted in 16,258 infringements and 240 vehicle impoundments.
Of the offending drivers, almost 5000 were driving unregistered vehicles, while about 3000 were unauthorised drivers. Drivers of unregistered vehicles, or those driving unlicensed or suspended generally don't have insurance and are not eligible for personal injury insurance, which forms part of vehicle registration fees.
"The Deloitte report provides us with a good appreciation of how we may use ANPR technology into the future. It sets the foundation and is part of a broader piece of work looking at the road safety benefits that can potentially be derived from this technology. Therefore the findings of this report won’t be adopted in isolation," said Victoria Police senior media officer, Ben Radisich.
"We are also looking at conducting an independent research based project to focus on the detection, enforcement and deterrence benefits of this technology.
"Once all of this work is completed, we will be in a stronger position to explore funding opportunities with Government to continue to improve road safety by investing in technology," Radisich said.
According to Victorian motoring body, VicRoads, estimates show that 38,000 unlicensed drivers drive on the road each day and that on average one of those is involved in a fatal car accident each fortnight. These drivers account for around ten per cent of Victoria's annual road toll.
The Deloitte report found that the vehicles in the BlueNet pilot program help police net almost eight times the amount of unregistered vehicles that a regular highway patrol member would without the technology.