Cyber criminals will be in the cross-hairs as part of operations at the Australian Federal Police's new multimillion-dollar forensics centre.
Work on the $106 million laboratory in Majura officially began on Thursday, several hours after the police confirmed an apparent cyber attack on their public website.
AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said the centre, to be located alongside existing police facilities near Canberra Airport, would replace the outdated one in Weston. He described plans for the centre as "world class", saying it would enable officers to target local crime in addition to international issues such as cyber-terrorism.
"Computer forensics is an emerging area and certainly when we conduct investigations these days, much of the evidence comes from communication devices and those sorts of things," he said.
"This will give us the opportunity to really use technology in a way to get the best evidence to courts and also provide some research into this area as well."
Mr Negus said the complex would hold 260 staff and bring together forensic imaging, digital forensics and crime scene analysis, as well as firearms, fingerprints, criminalistics and identification sciences.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Julian Slater said the lab would allow officers to keep up with criminal enterprises as they exploit emerging technologies.
"They're getting more and more aware of how they might cover their tracks," he said. "Our response to that is really about introducing new technologies, increased sensitivity in technologies and new methods to try and keep pace with their capabilities."
The centre will also give police access to fast track technology, allowing tests such as DNA analysis to be completed within hours.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan was also at the event on Thursday, which included the opening of a new $3.4 million driving track. "We believe the Australian Federal Police are a vitally important national institution and they need the support of the political system standing behind them," he said.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.