Aust Govt To Spend A20 Million On Airport Cctv
THERE’S increasing hype surrounding the electronic security sector after the tabling of Sir John Wheeler’s report on airport security and policing. Pledges of an increased sped mirror Prime Minister John Howard’s calls for wider use of video surveillance in Australia following the successful identification of the London bombers. As well as providing fast recognition, data mining in CCTV databases has also revealed a test run the bombers made in the weeks leading up to the attacks in which more than 50 people died. Prime Minister Howard said that while the Wheeler Report makes a positive assessment of Australia/s airport security policy settings, it does identify areas where airport security could be improved. According to the Prime Minister, the areas concerned include improvements to policing arrangements at major airports in order to combat criminal and terrorist activity. Of the latest commitments, most relevant to the electronic security industry is the planned spending of $A19.8 million to upgrade Customs’ CCTV capabilities at all Australian airports. According to Prime Minister, John Howard, the Government recognizes the value of integrated CCTV systems and agrees that highlighted issues in airports should be addressed immediately. As recognized by the review, Customs will be taking a lead role in assisting airports, airlines and other affected organizations to improve the integration of their existing CCTV solutions. Customs CCTV capability will be increased and upgraded to digital recording with more than 200 new cameras in basement, baggage and tarmac areas ($A13.9 million). This added CCTV capability will assist in the prevention, identification and prosecution of illegal activity at Australia’s international airports. Customs will also take a lead role in expanding and improving the CCTV systems at Australia’s airports ($A5.9 million). Another commitment likely to impact on the electronic security industry is the government’s $38 million air cargo security package. The plans is to implement new measures including increased levels of compliance auditing of air cargo security clearance procedures, a staged introduction of technology to strengthen explosive detection capability and new training and communication activities to strengthen security awareness and procedures in the air cargo industry. This funding will be allocated to the Department of Transport and Regional Services and to the Australian Customs Service. Extensive consultation will be undertaken with industry to identify where security outcomes can be improved and continue to enhance Australia’s exports and domestic air cargo transport. Supporting all this will be access control, with the airport access systems significantly strengthened by tougher background checking criteria for Aviation Security Identification Cards (the ASIC program). Reforming of the process required to get an ASIC is also being considered with a view to simplifying and consolidating arrangements. Another important area of improvement will be nearly $A4 million that’s been earmarked for development of a nationally consistent transport security training framework including nationally accredited training modules for the aviation industry. These include modules in areas like security planning, risk assessments, protective security principles, the operational security environment and national counter terrorism arrangements. There will also be modules relating to arrangements for the aviation sector to engage assistance to target their greatest risks, vulnerabilities or consequences. Importantly, all training will have flexible delivery options with a particular focus on regional and smaller airports. Another key recommendation of the report was for the appointment of airport police commanders and the integration of commonwealth and state policing at all major Australian airports. The states and territories will be requested to provide trained police officers to support a new airport police commander structure at all airports with a counter terrorism first response presence. Funding and co-ordination arrangements for this policing function will be discussed at the COAG meeting but the Australian Government stands ready to make a significant financial contribution to do its part to ensure this important role is filled. In brief the $200 million will be spent on: $A40.9 million for the establishment of 5 new joint airport investigation teams at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth airports to address serious and organized crime (includes AFP $A36.5 million and customs $A4.4 million). $A48.7 million for increased air-side Customs border patrols at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Cairns airports to provide a more visible presence to deter criminal activity. $A19.8 million to further upgrade the Customs’ CCTV capabilities, including assistance for airport operators and additional cameras at major airports. $A38 million to strengthen cargo security arrangements, including the introduction of improved technology for the detection of explosives. $A43.9 million for improved security and crime information exchange arrangements for aviation and an immediate review of the Aviation Transport Security Act, 2004 and associated regulations. $A3.8 million to introduce a new national aviation security training framework to support the aviation industry.