The New South Wales Police has skipped a whole generation of computer systems, moving straight from a DOS-type record system to a web-based repository.
The police force had been using the 15-year-old Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS), a text-only entry mechanism to record crime information, intelligence and legal proceedings. It "really was nearing the end of its life", according to Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn.
"The text-only [system] was not able to meet our ever-growing demands, and that, along with its inability to record, store and display multimedia material, drove us to look for a new alternative," she said.
Because of these shortcomings, the police decided in 2009 to work with Fujitsu to modernise the system, consulting with frontline police and holding pilots at six sites.
The two have now created WebCOPS, a web-based system with a user-friendly graphical interface, which is capable of generating and viewing multimedia files, such as photographs and electronic evidence. The system is also integrated with other NSW Police Force internet-based systems.
The police will use it to generate the 1.5 million events that they enter into COPS each year.
"WebCOPS will improve the speed and quality of information recorded and its integration with other policing programs will negate the need for officers to log-in and log-out of different systems, saving them time," Burn said.
"That will effectively mean police will spend less time behind their desks, and more time out on the street."