The federal government has doubled its investment in the new national criminal intelligence system, approving an additional $59.1 million for the first phase of the build.
The extra funding for the project was quietly handed to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in the 2018-19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) last month.
“As part of the 2019-19 MYEFO, the Australian Government approved the use of $59.1 million from the National Policing Information Systems and Services Special Account to fully fund the first tranche of the NCIS,” a national criminal intelligence spokesperson told iTnews.
The long-awaited national system will replace the ageing Australian criminal intelligence database (ACID) from August 2020.
Federal, state and territory law enforcement agencies have used the green screen architecture to share and analyse criminal information and intelligence since 1984.
It is expected the new system will “provide a national, unified picture of criminal activity” and help law enforcement agencies to avoid doubling up on investigations for the first time.
The ACIC secured an initially funding injection of $59.1 million for tranche one of the build in the 2018 federal budget.
The funding followed a two-year program that saw the trial of a pilot system used by 800 users in 20 law enforcement, law compliance and regulatory agencies. However the system only presented data for a single point in time, whereas the full system will have real-time connectivity to policing systems when complete.
But with the additional $59.1 million received in the 2018-19 MYEFO, the Commission now has the $118 million that it needs to complete the first tranche of the build.
The spokesperson said the funding was not captured in the MYEFO papers because it was “considered an extension to an existing measure which was announced in the 2018/19 budget”.
However, while the new funding is enough the complete the first tranche of the project, the government is yet to fund the remainder of NCIS build.
“The Government has not yet made decisions about funding future Tranches of NCIS,” the spokesperson said.
ACIC’s CEO Michael Phelan told the joint committee on law enforcement in November that completing the four tranche project could cost “upwards of about $400 million”.
Home Affairs to build NCIS
The Department of Home Affairs has been tasked with building the NCIS using their technology stack on behalf of the ACIC, who remains responsible for the delivery of the system
“The Department is providing its capabilities and expertise in building complex systems to benefit the NCIS program in a partnership arrangement,” the spokesperson said.
Home Affairs recently contracted Leidos to provide project management office services such as reporting and scheduling for the project until July 2020 under a $1.5 million contract.
ACIC also said it was working with Home Affairs on another foundational element of the NCIS: the national policing information hub (NPIH), which will replace the national police reference system used by police agencies to share essential information between themselves.
The spokesperson said the hub project would “deliver a contemporary Master Data Management (MDM) platform for NCIS to enable the NPRS replacement”.
The first tranche of the NCIS build will focus on connectivity between the states, territories and the Commonwealth, which involves joining all policing systems to allow for real-time information sharing.
This includes connecting the Australia Federal Police’s PROMIS system to Victoria Police’s LEAP system, Queensland Police’s QPrime records system and NSW Police’s COPS system.
Tranche one is expected to be complete around August 2020 – two years after the project started.