AFP technology leaves criminals nowhere to hide

Editor’s note: Vision and audio relating to the AFP’s Geospatial technology can be downloaded via Hightail

Criminals around the world have nowhere to hide as the AFP uses cutting edge technology to locate offenders and bring them to justice.

The AFP is using geospatial information, which includes the location, attributes and features below or above the earth’s surface, to identify some of Australia’s most wanted criminals.

In some cases, criminals’ social media accounts are being scraped to determine the location of offenders. This works by the AFP analysing geospatial information and other images to search for observable buildings or other physical features in their social media posts.

This can be compared with satellite imagery to help determine where an individual is in the world.

Geospatial information also enables the AFP to map call charge records and other data to map a drug trafficker’s movements over time.

The AFP’s geospatial specialists also work with GPS data, satellite imagery, aerial photography and data from mobile phone towers to help investigators develop intelligence and gather evidence.

There are a number of criminals offshore who target Australia and Australia’s interests.

The AFP has members based in 33 countries and is using its law enforcement networks, technology and intelligence to build cases against offenders to bring them to justice.

AFP Commander Paula Hudson, Forensics, said the use of geospatial technology in investigations was an example of the how the AFP was at the forefront of modern policing.

“The AFP is known for its technical innovation and capability in law enforcement, both in Australia and globally,’’ Commander Hudson said.

“One component of the suite of capabilities AFP officers have in their technical arsenal is the ability to utilise geospatial technology to identify where criminals are hiding and where they are committing their crimes.

“Our forensic capabilities grow every year and criminals are finding they have nowhere to hide from the long arm of the AFP.”

The technology was extensively used in Operation Ironside including investigations into transnational organised crime in Adelaide, the importation of 700 kilograms of methamphetamine into Sydney and the location of a cannabis grow house in Melbourne.

The same technology and methods can also be used in disaster victim identification, where the techniques are used to identify evidence found at a disaster scene. Geospatial technology was critical to the AFP’s response in the MH17 victim recovery, where it was used to analyse the debris distribution and designated priority search zones.

This information was then fed to AFP members on the ground in real-time, who were able to progress searches and facilitate operational planning to achieve the best possible outcomes on behalf of the families of the Australian and other victims of MH17.

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