CENTRAL Victorian police have discovered a number of communication black spots in the early stages of the transition to the encrypted digital radio network, which they believe pose safety risks for officers.
Victoria Police switched to a digital radio network for all regional police this week, giving authorities a greater level of communications security.
Members of the public throughout regional Victoria, including Bendigo, are no longer able to listen in to police activity through police scanners apps.
But the Bendigo Advertiser understands some officers are concerned the new network has black spots that pose safety risks to police.
Police operating in regional Victoria will now have the same secure communications as the Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) network.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said the purpose of the digital transition was not to eliminate black spots, but to boost security around the network.
“Due to the terrain across the state, we experience black spots with our radio network, just like telecommunications companies do. It is not unique to Bendigo, nor Victoria. Our officers are aware of this and ensure alternative methods of communication when needed,” she said.
“But in saying that, the portable coverage provided by the new network has increased significantly, so that scenario of a “black spot” will now occur less and less.”
Victoria police did not address a number of questions regarding the gaps in communication, nor did it provide information on how long it had been planning the digital transition.
The Victoria Police spokesperson said under the old analogue radio system, some members of the public were reluctant to report issues in case their identities were exposed and offenders sought them out.
“The new network will provide them with the additional reassurance they need to report crime, as people will no longer be able to listen to any Victoria Police operational communications. This - the new network - reduces safety risks to the community,” she said.
The spokesperson said police can also use alternative methods of communication such as car radios, mobile phones and portable coverage options as part of their daily duties or when they are specifically required.
In August 2017 Victoria's regional police radio system was exposed when a hacker interrupted the frequency during a car chase.
Impersonating an officer, the hacker interfered during a pursuit sparked by an alleged attempted armed robbery of a shop in Sale.
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