Mike Stevens | Jun 23, 2010

In an effort to reduce safety risks during high-speed pursuits, the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) is calling for government to investigate new technologies such as the StarChase system used by police in the US.

Using a compressed-air launcher, the StarChase system allows pursuing officers to fire a GPS-enabled tracking device at fleeing vehicles, making it possible to track the vehicle's position and for officers to quit the chase.

Police could also utilise technology that would allow officers to interrupt the radio broadcasts into nearby cars during pursuit - in much the same way that broadcast systems in underground road tunnels are used - making it easier to warn motorists that a pursuit is in progress.

Senior officers are also keen to see live cameras installed in police vehicles so that the high-speed chases can be more accurately monitored, helping commanding officers to decide if a pursuit should be called off.

The PFA is also pushing for Australia's nine Police Ministers to agree on a single 'top quality' police vehicle, with the aim of reducing the number of replaced police vehicles each year - currently at around 5000 cars - and potentially saving around $30 million annually.

"There is the potential for Australia to produce the world’s first police vehicle fit-out production line anywhere in the world − a new global niche export industry. There are interested international buyers in the USA and beyond," a PFA report reads, referring to programs such as Holden's Chevrolet PPV, developed specifically for export to the US.

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