Queensland Police Service lags behind in IT: report

Work-around solutions and ad hoc systems common at QPS

A review by former Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) has found that its ICT is “significantly behind” other policing agencies in Australia.

The report, entitled <i>Sustaining the Unsustainable: Police and Community Safety Review (PDF), found that work-around solutions and ad hoc systems development was common.

Keelty wrote that the review team was concerned with the efficiency of the Policelink system. The system is designed as an alternative to triple zero calls for police assistance in non-emergency matters. It is also used by QPS to record incident reports.

“To enter data, police are required to return to the station to type it in or call Policelink so the data can be entered by an operator,” read the review.

“If police wish to call the report in from the incident scene, they may need to use the complainant’s own phone to dial in and register the details of the matter.”

According to the review, officers can wait 15 to 40 minutes in order to register their report on Policelink. The system is also used by the public to register crime reports.

“Frustration with this cumbersome and time consuming process could be resulting in under reporting but there is no real way of telling,” read the report.

Another issue for QPS is data storage. The review found that officers were using their own devices to capture and store information.

“Some offices are storing images captured in the course of their duties on their PCs at home. This issue was discussed with senior QPS officers, who did not see any problems with the practice,” the report said.

The review also found that there was insufficient IT links between emergency response agencies in Queensland.

For example, the QPS uses WEBEOC which links it with other police in Australia while local governments use a system called GUARDIAN.

“As was highlighted during the January 2013 flood event, there was no direct linking between government, police, the Department of Community Safety and other government department systems,” read the review.

“This is a crucial issue, given that the core of all co-ordination and co-operation is ease of access to information.”

According to the review, the Department of Community Safety began building a technical solution in 2010 which has cost over $6.5 million. However, the single event management system will not be deployed before the 2014-15 storm season.

Keelty recommended a major overhaul of how the QPS uses and adopts new technology. The Queensland government will seek further advice about these changes including costs.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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