SA Police invests in facial recognition technology


news South Australia Police (SAPOL) has invested $780,000 in facial recognition software to be provided by NEC Australia.

The new contract will provide facial recognition technology allowing SAPOL to “search, scan and monitor” images and video of suspects against offender databases.

This will lead to “faster and more accurate” identification of individuals, the Government of South Australia said in a statement.

The software could also be used with South Australia’s existing CCTV network in the future by “extracting faces in real time” and matching them against a “watch list” of individuals.

“Implementing NEC’s facial recognition technology will greatly assist in reducing the time officers spend on identity management activities and allows them to be back on the streets keeping the public safe,” said NEC’s Chief Operating Officer, Mike Barber.

“The facial recognition technology is also able to assist police in solving cold cases, using old photography and images from previous cases,” Barber said.

The new tech, which will also be used in missing person cases, will be “widely utilised” by SAPOL by late October 2016, the government said.

It added that NEC’s biometrics identifications technology, including fingerprint identification and facial recognition, is used in over 70 countries.

NEC Australia’s Melbourne-based R&D team is working with SA Police to develop applications using NEC’s facial biometrics technology that meet the SA Police operational requirements, Barber said.

“The world we live in is changing, and with that comes a need to change the way we police,” said the state’s Police Minister, Peter Malinauskas. “We are investing in ensuring our police have the tools and technology needed to most effectively protect our communities.”

“Technology has an increasingly vital role in policing, and as technology evolves into the future, so too will the way our police force operates,” he said.

The state government had previously made an election commitment to strengthen the crime-fighting abilities of SAPOL with the introduction of more high-tech equipment.

The latest investment follows a recent $16.1 million State Budget announcement that will deliver a “record number of frontline police for South Australia”, the government said.

“Our police budget is at the highest level in history, with more frontline police soon to be on the beat than ever before,” said Malinauskas. “We want to see more South Australians taking up careers in policing within a police force that is well resourced, and among the most modern and dynamic in the nation.”

NEC Australia won the contract after a “competitive” tender process, according to the statement.


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