HI-tech spy cam technology that can recognise banned sports fans at the gate and alert security about criminals is being looked at by Melbourne’s major stadium chiefs.
Facial recognition technology has the backing of Victoria Police, who say it will help combat violence and mayhem at major events and stop repeat offenders entering grounds.
The system — which scans a patron’s image at the turnstile and compares their identity with a database of known troublemakers in seconds — is used at stadiums in the US, Germany and South America.
Stadium bosses in Melbourne have been briefed on its potential and several are evaluating its possible use.
The database could be used Australia wide.
With police trying to stamp out flares, violence and vandalism at sports such as A-League soccer, Commander Rick Nugent said the technology could be a valuable tool.
Football Federation Australia issues mandatory five-year exclusions from all affiliated soccer matches for people caught with flares inside grounds and has the power to issue lifelong bans for dangerous behaviour.
But the penalties rely on security and police recognising banned fans and keeping them out of stadiums.
Victoria Police Commander Nugent said facial recognition technology could ensure banned fans never entered stadiums again.
“These venues already have world-class CCTV technology and improved surveillance systems, so facial recognition technology is just another way of assisting police and security monitor events,” he said.
Etihad Stadium spokesman Bill Lane said management was assessing the technology.
“We always review as required and support any measure that would assist the police with any public disorder problems,’’ he said.
MCC spokesman Shane Brown said MCG management had not made a decision but was always willing to explore new technology.
But Melbourne and Olympic Parks spokeswoman Enna Giampiccolo said the technology was not being considered “at this stage’’ and other means were being used.
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