WA Police to replace troubled evidence system

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WA Police to replace troubled evidence system

Briefcase out following two investigations.

Western Australia Police will replace a decade-old evidence briefs system as part of a planned core business systems replacement program.

The agency's prosecutions project team is currently refining the business requirements for the core replacement program, ahead of procurement and expected completion in November next year.

The replacement covers Police's evidence brief systems, licensing and registry, and custody systems.

A WA Police spokesperson declined to provide details of the cost of the project, but said that the new evidence briefs system "will be aligned to operational practices and legislative requirements".

"It is intended to deliver efficiencies in work flow for frontline officers and those managing the prosecutions process,” a spokesperson said.

Briefcase was designed in house by the Toronto Police and was purchased by WAPOL, with customisations, in 2002. 

But the system — and in particular, how it is used — was the subject of a recent Corruption and Crime Commission investigation.

The CCC last September revealed in its annual report it would conduct an investigation into “systemic failures” of the Briefcase system, which Police use to record and prepare briefs of evidence and court appearances of those charged with offences.

Intervention by the Crime Commission came after a 2010 investigation by Police uncovered 9000 criminal charges that had not been processed into Briefcase and therefore not proceeded to court. 

The Commission’s own inquiry revealed matters of individual officer misconduct, neglect of duty and “systems failures”. 

In the CCC’s recent 2012-2013 annual report, it revealed the 1583 allegations of predominantly neglect of duty with handling of the Briefcase system had led to an 86 percent increase in the overall number of allegations received in relation to the public authorities and sectors it investigated over the last year.

The CCC identified that half of the 197 percent yearly increase in allegations from WA Police were related to the management of the Briefcase system. 

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