Police unions want $100m national case management IT system


blog If you’ve spent any time at all reporting on the IT systems of Australia’s police agencies, you’ll quickly realise that they are in a very sorry state — so bad that the Victorian Police have linked IT failures to actual deaths and choose to use their home PCs instead of the office systems, and the Australian Federal Police recently suffered abject failure in a $145 million project to upgrade its case management platform.

Now police unions nationally have called for an even bigger mega-IT system to be developed to allow them to collaborate more effectively. The ABC reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Police unions meeting in Adelaide have demanded a $100 million investment in IT systems to crack down on terrorism … Police Federation of Australia CEO Mark Burgess said it was crucial that a new case management system be rolled out nationally.”

Your writer has a number of large questions about this kind of initiative … such as who would be responsible for the system, who would build it, what guidelines would be put around accessing it, what is the legality of bulk-transferring data from state police systems into this huge data pool and so on. I don’t quite think the police unions have thought this one through just yet. And just as worrying is this questionable statement:

“The federation has also called for a broadband internet spectrum so officers can transfer intelligence at high-speed and security upgrades to police stations across the country.”

I have no idea what this means. Is this referring to law enforcement authorities’ ongoing demands for dedicated wireless spectrum for emergency communications? Because the way the Police Federation is talking, it sounds more like a national 4G mobile network that would allow police stations to distribute patches for their PCs. Weird.


  1. You can be sure that the police have zero idea what they want, let alone who they can reasonably ask to build it. Its a day ending in Y, esoteric random thoughbubbles hold sway.

    The police (and defence) should be banned from writing any requirements ever. You could roll d20s for random words from the dictionary and get more cogent requirements that fulfilled the actual requirements of the organisations.

    Its not that they are evil, they are merely institutionally incompetent.

    I look forward to 100m turning into 1bn and still not working because manager X likes lilac buttons to push.

  2. I reckon you do defence a decided disservice there! They are quite good at the requirements specification game (Collins class sub would have been a 7m thick document double sided if it was ever printed). Now if you said they were over ambitious at times sure (predicting stuff in 25years time can be difficult mind)!

  3. Police require a national system. Their individual IT systems are poor to bad. One should look at the National Exchange of Police Information (NEPI) to see the need to share and the far to often failure too.

    A national piece of privacy legislation would not go astray at the same time. The states varying privacy laws are a nightmare for effective law enforcement.

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