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THE days of scraping car rego stickers off windows are over in Western Australia, which tomorrow becomes the first state to abolish them.

Cutting-edge technology being used by West Australian police has made the stickers redundant, saving millions of dollars.

Police superintendent Lance Martin said hand-held computers were now providing officers with instant advice on registration expiries — as well as an extraordinary amount of other data — simply by tapping in a request.

A car’s owner, previous owners, registration status, even the engine number, were all available within seconds to officers on the beat.

“We can also do detailed searches on people, we can access the criminal records of every person in Australia, we can bring up their mugshots,” he said.

“I can even have an officer carrying one of these hand-held devices in the middle of Broome (1660km from Perth) and pull up an electronic mapping system to track where that officer is in real time, accurate to about five metres. It’s amazing.”

Western Australia is the only state with the hand-held TADIS-lite computers, which have revolutionised life for officers on foot patrol, horseback, pushbikes and motorbikes.

They were rolled out over the past few months.

Superintendent Martin said the expanded access to computers was “the tipping point” for getting rid of car stickers and motorbike tags. Previously, if police spotted an expired registration tag, they had to radio through to base and then wait for someone to run the registration on the land-based computer system.

“It was a very time-consuming approach,” he said.

“Today they just type in a registration number (from their hand-held computer) and within seconds they’ll have all of the information associated with that vehicle.”

The innovation had made the visible stickers irrelevant.

The West Australian technology is fast becoming the envy of forces across the nation, many of whom have sent delegations to Perth to examine it.

It began with larger TADIS computers fitted to police cars, reportedly the most advanced in Australia, and progressed this year to the unique hand-held version.

“Other states are particularly interested in the hand-held units,” Superintendent Martin said.

“This is far bigger than the registration stickers.

“Just in the metropolitan area now with our mobile data devises, we can do over six million enquiries a year. It’s massive.”

The West Australian Department of Transport, which administers vehicle registrations, confirmed it also had been approached by other states about the decision to phase out registration tags.

To ensure drivers were comfortable with the change, they can now phone a hotline or check online to clarify the status of their registration.

Source  :  www.theaustralian.com.au

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