National real-time intelligence sharing system edges closer

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National real-time intelligence sharing system edges closer

ACIC appeals for funding after two-year pilot.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission is appealing to the federal government to fund the full rollout of its new national criminal intelligence system after completing a two-year pilot of the nascent interjurisdictional platform.

The system will replace the Australian criminal intelligence database (ACID), which has been used by federal, state and territory law enforcement agencies and other regulatory authorities to share and analyse criminal information and intelligence nationally since it was first developed in 1984.

While not a national case management system – something federal and state police unions have wanted for some time – the new national criminal intelligence system (NCIS) will provide a national, unified view of criminal intelligence information to avoid agencies doubling up on investigations.

It was first called for by the Australian Crime Commission in 2014 – prior to its merger with CrimTrac to create ACIC – because of ACID’s declining effectiveness. The agency received a $9.8 million pot of funding from the government just over a year later for a pilot.

ACIC has since trialled a pilot system with around 400 users from 20 federal, state, territory, and international law enforcement, law compliance and regulatory agencies, which involved testing technology that bridges the systems of various agencies.

An ACIC spokesperson told iTnews the pilot had “delivered a concept national search capability”, giving agencies the ability to quickly search and use point-in-time police data that was previously unshared. Upwards of 11,000 searches on more than 600 million records have so far been made on the concept system.

The pilot program also revealed that agencies would need to commit to broader business transformation to address non-technical issues and change information sharing arrangements to make full use of the national platform.

It also confirmed that a protected cloud environment would be neccesary for agencies to share information nationally while continuing to operate their local systems, the spokesperson said.

The agency has now finished piloting the NCIS and is now looking to conduct connectivity trials with other jurisdictions while it appeals to the government for full program funding.

“The ACIC is seeking funding for a full NCIS capability to provide a federated intelligence and information sharing platform for collaboration and intelligence sharing with partners,” the spokesperson said.

The final NCIS will consist of data analytics tools and a big data platform to allow for complex analytics work. It will also provide data mastering, system integration and real-time connectivity to allow partner agencies to share data across jurisdictions.

The agency declined to provide detail of the specific technology components of the new system.

ACIC’s executive director of intelligence Col Blanch told a joint committee in August that connectivity trials would take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

“It's a big job because of so many agencies involved, and each of those agencies have different levels of technical capability to connect directly into—or various systems to connect into,” he said.

“So we are going to work on that, which has been funded through the proceeds of crime account through the Minister for Justice. I would say that will continue for the next 18 to 24 months.”


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