The Australian Federal Police has finally moved into a new $106 million forensics facility in Canberra that will aid in everything from cybercrime to organised crime and terrorism investigations.
Over 200 experts in digital forensics, weapons intelligence, fingerprint and facial identification, and biological and chemical criminalistics come together in the new forensics facility at Majura.
The opening of the new facility was delayed by six months due to prolonged construction works: it was originally slated to open at the end of 2015.
In total, it took 2.5 years to build and is expected to have a useful lifespan of about 20 years.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the facility was home to “cutting edge technology and innovation”, though many of the uses of that technology were classified, preventing him from talking about them at length.
“Can I assure you this building contains some of the keenest minds, some of the most innovative minds employed by the Commonwealth of Australia,” Turnbull said.
“They are doing great work and they are literally at the cutting edge.”
One aspect of the technology is a Search Precinct which the government said “provides a central hub for the examination of evidence [and] will ensure the AFP maintains its world-leading capacity in forensic operations, forensic science policy, research, training and capability development.”
Another key feature is the facility’s design, which is said to better support “collaboration and intelligence sharing with the AFP’s domestic and international law enforcement partners.”
“The design of the building is one that enhances collaboration and innovation,” Turnbull said.
“It is a good example of using the built environment to support the type of agile, collaborative working style that ensures that you move to your solutions in an innovative and agile way, faster than you would in a more conventional environment.”
Turnbull said the new forensics facility would “position the AFP to respond effectively to Australia’s evolving threat environment, including organised crime and terrorism.”
“This facility will expand the AFP’s capacity to conduct major investigations and respond to crisis situations, including those involving disaster victim identification,” he said.
“It will enhance the important role the AFP already plays in domestic and international investigations, including its leading role in the ongoing international criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
“This facility represents the future of the AFP.”