Western Australia Police’s (WAPOL) trusted relationship with Motorola Solutions extends over 15 years, a period that also demonstrates the continuous advances available in public safety technology.
Policing in Western Australia is no small task. WAPOL is responsible for the world’s largest single police jurisdiction covering 2.5 million square kilometres from 157 police stations.
Over the past 15 years, Motorola Solutions has worked closely with WAPOL. Beginning with simple voice communications devices and networks, the solutions deployed today are vastly more sophisticated, delivering timely and critical information and data to the officer in the field, thereby aiding decision-making and improving situational awareness and potential outcomes.
CAD improves officer safety
In 2004, Motorola Solutions installed a Premier computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. This was followed by in-vehicle computers in 2006-2007, equipping WAPOL field officers with the advanced information they need prior to attending an emergency call.
The main benefit delivered by mobile data was better officer safety, as officers were better informed and therefore able to take the appropriate actions. The system also provided duress alerts for officers in harm’s way and knew where they were to help them.
In addition, better resource management was also achieved. With greater awareness of vehicle locations, officer skill sets and vehicle capabilities – for example, vehicles carrying tyre deflation “stinger” devices, high powered firearms or ballistic vests – resources can be deployed more effectively.
Lance Martin, WA Police Superintendent at the time, said: “The system has given our officers essential tools that help protect them in the daily execution of what is potentially a very dangerous and stressful occupation, and the flow-on benefits for the community are just as important.”1
Terrorism prevention measures – Even in 2005
In 2005, WAPOL selected a Motorola P25 digital trunked radio system, covering more than 30 sites and including the supply of portable, mobile and fixed P25 digital radio terminals and mobile computing devices. The new network would deliver secure, effective coverage to 9,000 square kilometres.
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said that “the new mobile data facility and automatic vehicle location server will enable police to be dispatched more effectively to incidents and emergencies while important radio communications will be encrypted to help prevent interception by organised crime or disruption by terrorists”.2
Coverage more than doubles in 2009
Motorola Solutions was engaged again in 2009 to develop improved voice communications for WAPOL and WA’s Department of Corrective Services (DCS). The contract, an expansion of the Perth Metropolitan Radio Network (PMRN) and known as PEDI, added 250 mobile and 1,350 portable radios, and increased coverage to 20,000 square kilometres.
WAPOL’s Martin, a trained officer as well as IT project manager, said at the time that the success of the project was “staggering” and the “difference between life and death for many officers”.
“We were originally recording 800 enquiries per day, from officers seeking car registration, checking addresses and other factors concerning criminal history. More recently we recorded 360 devices logging in on a single day, making 26,200 enquiries.” Martin added that he had “the best job in the WA Police. Being an operational officer and seeing what needs to be done, and then being given the job to implement a system that provides such benefit to police officers, it’s just fantastic”.3
Becoming the largest network in the world
The next stage in Western Australia’s move towards becoming a highly technically advanced police service was the extension of the digital emergency services radio communications network beyond the greater metropolitan area, commencing in 2011.
This stage completes a fully integrated digital radio network, making it one of the largest such networks in the world.
The network was implemented via four IP simulcast segments in Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Albany and Pilbara.
In November 2012, Liza Harvey, Minister for Police, with Superintendent Andy Greatwood formally launched the trunked radio network in Geraldton.4
The Minister said in the Legislative Assembly at the time: “[this] kind of communication is exactly what is needed in the regions when we have a critical incident such as a bushfire, a flood emergency, a cyclone emergency or a road crash emergency. This reliable communications network is critical infrastructure … I look forward to opening the
next tranche that pushes us further north with this far better communication and connectivity for our emergency services”.5
In July 2014 the completion of the third segment of the P25 digital simulcast trunked radio system in Albany marked a significant milestone, with voice access coverage of nearly 5,000 square kilometres surrounding Albany and key population areas of the Great Southern region, and bringing WAPOL a step closer toward improved inter-agency
The Western Australia Minister for Emergency Services, Hon. Joe Francis MLA, said of the new radio network: “What it effectively does is provide a clearer, more secure form of communication for agencies, allowing them to work together, to inter-operate better and the result of that is obviously a safer community and a safer working environment”.6
The final segment was completed in the Pilbara in December 2014.
Critical, timely and accurate information at the frontline
In 2015 a new contract demonstrated how the next generation of technology solutions can help public safety agencies like WAPOL reach new levels of safety and productivity.7
With WAPOL’s current CAD system approaching the end of its operational life, the force required new
technology to maintain its current service levels.
The new system will assist the police force to efficiently manage its daily operations while ensuring officers can access key operational data anywhere, at any time, and on a choice of technology-agnostic devices best suited to their roles, including smart phones, tablets and laptops.
Together, these projects will benefit frontline officers by providing critical, timely and accurate information to help them make better informed decisions and increase their overall situational awareness.
Naturally it is essential for WAPOL’s CAD system transition to be managed without disrupting business
continuity of policing services to the community of Western Australia. Therefore, the system was deployed within a “live” environment of IT infrastructure and applications with full back up at a different location to maintain uninterrupted service.
The technology upgrade positions WAPOL to take advantage of future technological advancements for
enhanced efficiency and improved frontline support.
Martin, currently project director for the CAD Replacement Project, said “our trusted relationship with Motorola Solutions now spans 15 years. Over that time they have made a considerable investment in understanding how we want our teams to collaborate and the direction we’re taking to mobilise our police force. The combined CAD upgrade and roll-out of the Mobile Intelligence Client gives our officers a flexible technology platform to strengthen information sharing throughout the agency, and provides the required flexibility to adapt to meet new challenges in the future”.
2000 – Motorola Solutions begins working with WAPOL.
2004 – Motorola Solutions’ first Premier CAD (PCAD) system is installed.
2005 – WAPOL selects a Motorola ASTRO(R) 25 digital trunked radio network, which will cover more than 30 sites. The contract also includes the supply of portable, mobile and fixed ASTRO(R) 25 digital radio terminals and MW850 mobile computing devices.
2007 – Completion of installation of in-vehicle terminals, providing computer dispatch, database enquiry and automatic vehicle location services.
2009 – Motorola Solutions wins the contract to provide voice and mobile data communications across an area which encompasses 80 per cent of the Western Australian population.
2011 – Motorola Solutions is awarded a five-year contract to extend the digital emergency services radio communications network beyond the greater metropolitan area into the rest of Western Australia. This will complete a fully integrated digital radio network, making it one of the largest such networks in the world.
Dec 2014 – Motorola Solutions announces the conclusion of the Pilbara segment, signifying the completion of the P25 digital simulcast trunked radio system.
Jul 2015 – The third segment of the P25 digital simulcast trunked radio system is completed in Albany.
Aug 2015 – WAPOL reaches an agreement with Motorola Solutions to upgrade the ageing CAD by deploying Motorola Solutions’ PremierOne CAD system and locally developed frontline mobility application, Mobile Intelligence Client, integrating critical information between the agency’s databases, command centre and operational officers.
October 2016 – WAPOL upgrades its CAD system and deploys frontline mobility application, Mobile Intelligence Client, integrating critical information between the agency’s databases, command centre and operational officers.
1. Crime-fighting on the go: Motorola and the Western Australia Police”, SmartCom Australasia, Dec 2010, p 5
2. “Motorola to provide digital radio network for Western Australia Police”, SmartCom Australasia, Jun 2005, p 1
3. Winterford B, “WA Police brave public 3G networks”, itnews, Sep 2009
4. Azad U, ‘World-class communications’, Kalgoolie Miner, 5 Nov 2012
5. Extract from Hansard, ASSEMBLY –Tuesday, 10 September 2013, p3695c-3696a
6. Hampton S, “Emergency services get new secure radio network”, The West Australian Regional, 12 Jun 2014
7. Innovative technology gives Western Australia Police the edge, Motorola Solutions press release, 4 Aug 2015
Click here to download a PDF of the Western Australia Police case study.