Press release from the Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice, Minister for Defence Materiel
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare today announced the Australian Ballistic Information Network (ABIN) will become a reality after Commonwealth, State and Territory Police Ministers reached final agreement in Darwin today.
An Australian Ballistic Information Network will capture the unique ballistic signature of firearms across the country.
“This is a ballistic system that gives police the power to be able to do what is effectively a fingerprint of a firearm, and trace it or link it to crimes that have been committed across the country.” Mr Clare said.
“Each firearm leaves a unique imprint on the bullet it fires. When police seize a firearm they can fire the weapon, put the details into the database and link that weapon to other crimes.”
Microscopic marks are left on bullets and cartridge cases when they are discharged by firearms. These marks can be used to link the bullet or cartridge case to the firearm that discharged them.
A firearm is fired into a purpose-built water tank. The cartridge and projectile are then recovered. These scans produce high resolution images, as well as algorithmic representations of the cartridge and projectile. These algorithms can then be compared with algorithms from cartridges and projectiles retrieved from crime scenes, to determine if the firearm is linked to the crime scene evidence.
The $9m rollout of the Australian Ballistic Information Network will be funded by the Federal Government through CrimTrac, the agency responsible for information sharing between Australia’s police, law enforcement and national security agencies.
This funding will enable CrimTrac to purchase new equipment, work with police across the country to develop policy and procedures for evidence sharing, and support the necessary training to use the ABIN.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) have used a combined ballistic identification system for several years and have identified strong benefits from their use.
“The AFP already use this system. So does the NSW Police. Now we are going to take it nationwide.” Mr Clare said.
ABIN provides a quick way to match firearm information against large data sets including national and international collections, and will provide a national picture of the criminal use of firearms in Australia and the associated gangs that use them.
Rolling out the network nationwide will build a database of all weapons used in crimes recovered by Police in every state and territory. It will be able to be accessed by police forces in every Australian jurisdiction.
The technology that is currently being utilised in Australia is also used by Interpol and in 62 countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.