New national ballistics system for police to target firearm crime

Press release from the Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice

Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today launched law enforcement’s new weapon against criminals who use guns - the Australian Ballistics Information Network (ABIN).

From July, Australian police agencies will have access to the latest-technology ballistics matching system to track illegal firearms.

“CrimTrac’s new $9.6 million ABIN provides national capability that is equivalent to a ‘fingerprint’ system for guns and assists police to link guns to the crooks who use them,” Mr Keenan said.

“ABIN will link local and national incidents involving a firearm,” Mr Keenan said. Mr Keenan was joined at the launch by NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres, CrimTrac CEO Doug Smith and NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione today in Sydney.

“The ABIN will give police the edge in the fight against gun crime by increasing the speed they can match ballistic evidence and link firearms to both suspects and crimes, no matter which state or territory the crime took place,” Mr Keenan said.

“This will link the Integrated Ballistics Identification Systems (IBIS) already in use by the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police Force, Queensland Police Service and South Australia Police, and allow for the input of ballistic data from all states and territories.

“With all Australian police agencies sharing electronic ballistic information through the ABIN, we will have a capability to store, analyse and share evidence to solve gun-related crime nationwide,” Mr Keenan said.

New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said firearm related crime in Australia, and particularly in New South Wales required a national law enforcement response.

“Modern policing demands a constant ability to adapt and respond to changing crime types and crime groups and this cross-border operating model will get us closer to those offenders using illicit firearms,” Mr Ayres said.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the ABIN will have a significant impact on the way Australian police agencies investigate gun-related crime by linking ballistic evidence from incidents involving firearms both locally and nationally.

“Since the NSW Police Force acquired the IBIS in 2000, we have had 636 ‘hits’ or ballistic matches, providing over 1200 links to crimes and crime evidence,” Mr Scipione said.

“While it has been an invaluable tool in investigating gun-related crime, like all technology, the IBIS has its limitations - the information it outputs is only as good as the information that is input.

“With all Australian police agencies sharing electronic ballistic information through the ABIN, we will have a capability to store, analyse and share evidence to solve gun-related crime nationwide.”

CrimTrac CEO Doug Smith said Australia does not currently have a system for police to nationally match ballistic evidence.

“Many Australian police agencies currently use a manual process to match ballistic evidence, which is both time consuming and resource intensive,” Mr Smith said.

“A national ballistic matching system will increase the capability of all Australian police agencies to investigate firearm-related crime.

“Once again, CrimTrac is helping us break down information-sharing barriers to better target serious and violent offenders in our community,” Mr Smith said.

CrimTrac is the Australian Government Agency responsible for delivering national information sharing services between state, territory and federal police agencies.

Since coming to Government the Coalition has introduced a range of measures to make Australia safer and more secure, including:

  • introducing Anti-Gang Squads in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia to detect and disrupt national and international criminal gangs;
  • opening the Anti-Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre within the Australian Crime Commission to collate federal and state law enforcement intelligence on criminal gangs;
  • strengthening unexplained wealth laws to crackdown on criminals who flout their criminal activities; and
  • using proceeds of crime to fund crime prevention projects under the $50 million Safer Streets Program which delivers measures such as CCTV and security lighting in entertainment and commercial precincts of local communities

“Now, this new network of gun crime intelligence increases the capability of all Australian police agencies to investigate firearm-related crime,” Mr Keenan said.

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