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NSW police to use citizen cops to catch criminals via website

08 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

NSW police will set up a website via which citizens will be able to send photos and footage of crime directly to police.  According to an article in The Australian, Project VIEW (Video Image Evidence on the Web) has been in development since the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, as it is believed that investigations into the riots would have greatly benefitted from better use of technology.

The website will allow footage to be sent quickly and easily, to be used by police as evidence, says Police Minister David Campbell.

Queensland Police launched a Crimestoppers website six months ago which allows citizens to upload crime-related photos, but currently does not allow video to be uploaded.  Ian Stewart, Queensland's assisant commissioner of information and communications technology, says the website receives about 200 submissions a month.  When an individual reports a crime through the website, they are given a reference number, which allows police to communicate with them further while maintaining that person's anonymity.

NSW Opposition police spokesperson, Mike Gallacher, has raised some objections to the plan, saying it may encourage members of the public to get a closer look at dangerous events and may lead to police wasting time on minor or petty squabbles.  It has been dubbed "Blu-Tube" by some critics.

The project is expected to cost about $8 million and the launch of the website is still months away.

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