​NSW Budget: Police Force to receive AU$51m to improve technology

The funding will support the ongoing implementation of the state's AU$100 million Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The New South Wales Police Force has been given a AU$51 million funding injection as part of the state government's 2017-18 Budget handed down on Tuesday.

The extra cash will go towards the AU$100 million Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund, which is aimed at providing the force with "state-of-the-art" technology to fight crime and enhance officer mobility.

The funding will allow for the continued rollout of body-worn video cameras to record evidence that may support criminal investigations, hand-held narcotic analysers for fast and accurate results in testing for illicit substances, tablet computers, and fingerprint scanners, the Budget papers explain.

In its 2015-16 Budget, the state government initially handed out AU$100 million to enable NSW Police to deploy fingerprint scanners, tablets, and TruNarc machines to allow police to scan for multiple narcotics using a simple hand-held machine.

The department's budget also included AU$3.65 million to continue the allocation of body-worn video cameras, an initiative flagged as a success by the state's Minister for Police Troy Grant said at the time.

The 2017-18 Budget also includes AU$178 million over two years to upgrade the communications services used by front-line emergency response staff.

The majority of this funding will be used to upgrade the Critical Communication Enhancement Program to provide emergency service organisations with a single, state-wide integrated Government Radio Network.

AU$15 million will also be invested by the state government to build the capacity of the NSW Police Force aerial surveillance and counter-terrorism capability.

While a total of AU$47 million over three years will be spent combating violent extremism, including a new high-security unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, upgrading the existing Supermax, improving intelligence gathering, and establishing a Counter Terrorism Unit.

As touched on by Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello on Monday, NSW Health will also be investing in a handful of digital initiatives thanks to a AU$2.8 billion funding injection from this year's Budget.

Health will receive AU$236.2 million to improve the digital storage and communication of medical information in a bid to make patient records easier to read, more accurate, and more accessible.

The project includes the rollout of the electronic medication management system to more NSW public hospitals, as well as a project to link NSW Ambulance and hospital electronic medical records in real time.

AU$286.3 million will be injected into a whole-of-system Digital Platform, which is expected to enhance the digital infrastructure that supports clinical and other health-related systems across the state.

The government documents explain that the funding will complete the fast, secure state-wide network at the remaining sites, which clinicians use to access data.

The performance and reliability of Health's IT systems will also be improved with the upgrading and consolidation of existing hardware into Government Data Centres, hoping to also reduce the risk of disruption to digital services.

The project will also support more mobile digital healthcare and upgraded video conferencing capabilities for clinicians and patients.

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