Victoria Police brings officer back with deepfake technology to send message about mental health

Content warning: This article discusses suicide and mental health.

If you or someone you care about needs support, please contact:

Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Victoria Police has used deepfake technology to bring back the late senior constable Laurie Fox and deliver a message about mental health and suicide warning signs.

Fox took his own life on New Year’s Eve in 2012, aged 32. The Victoria Police Mental Health Program office, McCann Melbourne and production group Exit worked closely with his former wife, Belinda Bozykowski to create the film and message in which Fox appears.

“What unites police officers is a desire to do meaningful work and go beyond the call to make a difference to the people around them,” McCann chief strategy officer, Simon McCrudden said.

“We worked very closely with Senior Constable Fox’s wife, Belinda, Victoria Police and secretary of the Police Association of Victoria, Wayne Gatt to give an officer who tragically left us too early the opportunity to continue making a difference.”

The deepfake was created through careful casting for the live action shoot and reference to original photos, videos and archival source material from Fox’s life. In the film, he urges officers in Victoria to seek help and support without fear of consequence.

The campaign launched through Victoria Police’s Bluespace Wellbeing platform for current and former officers, and their families and the free heath, wellbeing and sleep app designed for officers, Equipt.

McCann Melbourne creative director, Andrew Woodhead, said: “We knew that if this project was to have any significant impact we would need to convey our message in a way the audience could not possibly ignore.”


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