Western Australia Police's newly appointed chief
information officer Craig Ward is making the state-wide police
radio network and flexible access to skilled technology staff his
A police officer with 28 years experience, Ward moved to the CIO
role from his previous position as director of Strategy and
Performance in December 2009.
"My job is making sure that what's delivered from an IT systems
perspective is what the operational side of the organisation
needs," he told ZDNet.com.au yesterday. "What we've delivered in the past is what
the organisational arm wanted, not what they needed."
One of his major aims is to oversee the replacement of the
police radio network across regional Western Australia.
"This was a major electoral commitment from the government and a
major safety issue for police," he said. "If a copper calls from
help, we need to make sure someone can hear them and respond."
Ward is also looking to expand the police mobile data network
from Perth to the rest of the stat.
This will enable the force to roll out handheld Tasking and
Dispatch Information Systems (TADIS) handheld computers, which are
currently used in Perth, to officers across the state. TADIS
provides live access to WA and national criminal databases, photos,
names, addresses, firearms and vehicle information.
"It's about sound decision making," said Ward. "You make your
best decisions when you've got the best information. That's
critical to policing." The IT department also needed to be "more
responsive to the changing needs of policing", he said.
"We're probably the only 24x7 organisation in the state, so it's
important that we're responsive and agile," he explained. "The
service you get in Kununurra is the same as you get in Albany or
the suburbs of Perth."
To achieve this aim, the police force has restructured its
sourcing strategy and mix of vendors "so we can get the right
people at the right time, while working within the constraints of
the government tendering process", he said. WA Police signed a $25
million radio equipment contract with Motorola last September and
IT services contracts worth more than $60 million with Ajilon and
CSC last May.
"We're trying to get the ability to get projects up quickly,"
said Ward. "There's always a tension between home-grown resources
and top-line people that we can get in quickly. We don't want to
always rely on external people but at the same time realise we
won't always have everything we need internally."
Before Ward's appointment, the role had lain vacant since August
2008 and been temporarily filled by acting director of Corporate
Programs and Development Tony O'Donoghue.