Police pay price to defeat criminal eavesdroppers

By Jared Savage

Covert encryption to stop criminals listening to police radio will cost $150 million to introduce nationwide.

Specialist units such as the armed offenders and diplomatic protection squads and the organised crime unit have been using the technology since December.

The secure encrypted digital network has since been extended to all Wellington, to be followed by Canterbury and the Auckland region by the end of 2010.

Assistant Commissioner Viv Rickard denied there had been delays.

"As with any major infrastructure project there have been someissues which have been resolvedas the project has proceeded."

Eventually, the digital technology will enable 1.7 million messages to be sent on a network of over 300 radio sites to 2500 vehicles and 3000 handheld radios.

However, news of the cost comes as police have been ordered to take 300 vehicles off the road to save $2.4 million. Police Minister Judith Collins said money for Auckland and Canterbury had been committed but police would have to request more to introduce the system nationwide.

"I've made it clear that I want the best tools for police. The digital radio will make police and the public safer."

- NZ Herald

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