Technology used in space exploration and mining is being used to catch pedophiles and fight organized crime.
Col Blanch was appointed Police Commissioner for Western Australia on 15 July after 30 years on the police force and was the cop who broke the news that kidnapped toddler Cleo Smith had been found safe.
Known for his “fierce work ethic,” he warned that his focus was heavily on protecting children from abuse and exploitation.
His previous experience includes several high profile positions, including Director of Intelligence for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
New WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch (pictured) said he will act ‘aggressively’ against child exploitation and organized crime
Mr Blanch said artificial intelligence technology had already played a major role in locating kidnapped toddler Cleo Smith, who was found safe after missing for 18 days last year (pictured)
“I’ll target those kinds of violators in the community… with the help of partners like Telstra, like the FBI, like the Commonwealth, we’ll find people in our community who are exploiting our children,” he said. The Sunday Times.
“We’re going to use the technology super aggressively… we’ve found a way to identify them all very quickly.”
Commissioner Blanch said the police are using advanced technology that is being developed for other industries, as well as applying it to police work.
As an example, he cited geodata company Fugro, which already uses its work on remote mining sites for Rio Tinto and BHP and space exploration with NASA to find people lost in the bush or on the ocean.
WA Police has awarded a $4.9 million contract to Fugro, which is already heavily involved in the Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex in Perth.
He said communication and robotic technologies can be directly applied to police work and artificial intelligence is being used to sift through mountains of information much faster than agents can physically.
He said it had already been used successfully in cases he had supervised, including the murder of Nick Martin at a drag race event and helping track down kidnapped toddler Cleo Smith.
Mr Blanch has over three decades of police experience (see early in his career)
Bikie gangs and other organized criminals are another specific focus of Commissioner Blanch, who wants to build on the anti-bikie laws introduced in 2021.
He said he not only intended to make WA a “hostile” place for cyclists, but also cut their ties to larger organizations.
“I plan to talk to the Commonwealth in the coming weeks about what they can do to support us in this. We will take a very aggressive stance against those offshore and on the east coast targeting WA,” he said.
Following a spate of layoffs from the WA Police Force over the past 12 months, Commissioner Blanch also said he wanted to support officers as much as possible.
More than 300 officials resigned between July 2021 and July 2022.
He said one of his first duties as a commissioner would be to improve communication with officers and other specialists, such as police psychologists.