NSW Police track booty online

NSW Police will go online with a computer database that has helped police recover $8.2 million in stolen property in the past two years.

Police Minister Paul Whelan said the current reporting system -- introduced in January 1999 -- has helped police arrest 3475 people and issue more than 13,000 charges.

Pawnbrokers and licensed second-hand dealers with a turnover of more than $150,000 a year currently record all transactions on computer disks and forward those details to police who upload the information on to a police database within seven days.

Police have recovered some 10,400 items of stolen property, conducted more than 4000 random audits of dealers and finalised nearly 3000 investigations.

"The results speak for themselves -- these figures are impressive when you consider that police will have a far more efficient system within months and will no longer have to use the cumbersome method of floppy disks," Whelan said.

Police will launch the Pawnbroking Weblink Project in December.

The $506,000 electronic database will let dealers transmit records via a secure Internet connection to police at the close of each business day, and according to Whelan, the faster police get these records, the faster they will be able to identify and arrest criminals and recover stolen property.

He described the new online system as a world-leading policing tool that will join other high-tech arsenal used to fight crime including DNA, mobile data terminals and digital ballistics and fingerprint databases.

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