NSW Police find core systems vendor for COPS overhaul

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NSW Police find core systems vendor for COPS overhaul

Two-year search comes to an end.

NSW Police has finally settled on a technology solution and delivery partner for the once-in-a-generation overhaul of its core policing system.

iTnews can reveal Unisys and US-based public safety software provider Mark43 have been down-selected to deliver the force's new integrated policing operating system (IPOS).

It follows an “extensive global search” for a provider to replace the state's 24-year-old core operational policing system (COPS) that originally dates back to July 2015.

COPS is the force’s central database for everyday operations, and is used for everything from the logging of criminal incidents to intelligence gathering and the pressing of charges.

A spokesperson told iTnews the “short-term contract” will see the consortium “undertake discovery and due diligence phase [for IPOS] to ensure operational suitability to frontline policing”.

“This discovery phase commenced 2 March 2020 and is anticipated to take around 6 months,” the spokesperson said.

Mark43 offers an cloud-based all-in-one core policing system, called the Mark43 platform, which is used by a number of law enforcement agencies in the US.

IPOS is expected to transform how Australia’s largest police force approaches policing, allowing frontline officers to spend more time on the beat.

It will contain modules for core police functions like investigation management, evidence and forensic data management and investigation and charge and custody management.

The platform will also replace the force’s decade-old Fujitsu computer-aided dispatch system, which the force had originally tendered for separately.

NSW Police are still in the process of looking for a hybrid cloud platform to host IPOS, having already developed a cloud reference architecture with Amazon Web Services partner Versent.

A hybrid cloud platform is required “due to the significant co-existence required with legacy on premise IT systems”, according to chief information and technology officer Gordon Dunsford.

The long road

NSW Police has been working to modernise COPS since receiving an initial $44.8 million for the build in the 2013-14 state budget.

It originally went looking for a partner to replace COPS in mid-2015 and ultimately settled on Accenture for the work two years later

Accenture was to build a proof-of-concept solution for the future core policing system, dubbed NewCOPS, over a six-month period.

But after the system was delivered in October 2017, the force paused the overhaul to review its approach for NewCOPS.

The decision occurred just after a restructure of the force's business technology team, which saw long-time chief information officer Chris Robson and chief technology officer Syd Griffith depart.

However, several months later, the force restarted the COPS overhaul, approaching the market for IPOS, which was to double as a CAD system, in October 2018.

NSW Police shortlisted three contenders to deliver IPOS last May after receiving close to 30 bids from vendors across the globe, and expected to select its preferred vendor late last year.

But just months before a decision was expected, the force unexpectedly lost its digital policing and operational systems director, pushing the procurement behind schedule.

Update April 21: NSW Police has now published a $3.9 million contract with Unisys for the first phase (phase zero) of the IPOS project.

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