Police go digital with suspects

Individuals unfortunate enough to be hauled before the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for interview can soon rest assured their every movement and utterance is being preserved in digital format. The AFP has put out a call to industry for solutions to replace the existing archaic VHS and audio tape media presently used to record their discussions with interviewees.

Individuals unfortunate enough to be hauled before the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for interview can soon rest assured their every movement and utterance is being preserved in digital format.

The AFP has put out a call to industry for solutions to replace the existing archaic VHS and audio tape media presently used to record their discussions with interviewees.

The service is required by legislation to keep audio and video recordings of all interviews it conducts. In addition, an audio copy of the interview must be provided to interviewees within seven days of the interview.

The AFP presently has 100 recording systems installed in purpose-built interview rooms across the nation, as well as some 20-30 portable systems which only record audio.

Each permanent system is designed to simultaneously produce three audio recordings and two combined audio-and-video recordings. One audio copy is stored as evidence, one provided to the interviewee, and one used as a working copy by investigators.

The AFP said any new digital system must provide a similar level of functionality as a base. It should also, however, be capable of storing interview recordings on a centralised server and stream them on demand.

In addition, the AFP wants police officers to be able to enter data relating to the interview into the new system before recording starts.

Some form of protection should be applied to the digital recordings to prevent any potential allegations of manipulation, the AFP said.