New AFP system developed in Israel

New AFP system developed in Israel

Canberra police will soon be fighting crime on the city's streets using a computer system developed in the Middle Eastern flashpoints of Gaza and the West Bank.

The Australian Federal Police is spending $145 million on a new computer policing system to replace the ageing PROMIS program that has been in use for more than 15 years.

The new technology is a system used by Israeli security agencies in their battles with Palestinian militants. It is being bought ''off the shelf'' and customised for the AFP.

The program is being supplied by Elbit Australia and was developed by its parent company, Israeli defence giant Elbit Systems.

According to the AFP, the ''intelligence-focused'' program has already been tried and tested by a number of ''Israeli government organisations''.


Elbit is contracted to have the system up and running by March 2017 with about $35 million already spent on the deal, which was signed in June.

Elbit also supplies unmanned aerial aircraft to its nation's military and ACT Policing has made no secret of its ambition to deploy a crime-fighting drone in the skies over the capital.

Police Real-time Online Management Information System - PROMIS - has been a central feature of policing in Canberra and a generation of officers have had a love-hate relationship with the system that the force's top brass now describe as ''clunky''.

PROMIS is used to record crime and incidents while holding investigative and operational information. It has also seen service with the Australian Crime Commission and the Northern Territory police.

But PROMIS, which was developed in-house by the force, has had a number of subsidiary systems brought in to supplement it and was identified as a weakness as long ago as 2008.

It also struggles to support operations such as the AFP's deployments to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The new system will be called ''SPECTRUM'' and will also replace the AFP's evidence management and professional standards reporting systems.

The new arrangement is expected to boost the operational capacity of officers in the field while also upgrading the security of AFP information.

An AFP spokesman was frank on Friday about PROMIS' shortcomings.

''The primary operating systems for the AFP commenced operation in 1997 and was built in-house,'' he said. ''Since that time, a number of subsidiary systems have been put in place to meet the operational requirements of the organisation.''

He said that SPECTRUM was expected to be operational until around 2032.

''The new AFP computer system will be a converged system, which will replace a number of current systems used presently to record operational information by the AFP,'' the spokesman said.

''It is anticipated that the new system will be launched in March 2017.

''Once implemented, the AFP expects to have the new system in use for the next 15 years

''The implementation of a new integrated single computer system will allow the AFP's community policing, national investigations, intelligence and incident management areas to use the latest technology and systems in the fight against 21st century crime.''

Noel Towell is State Political Editor for The Age

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