NSW Police IT system lacks auto-alerts for domestic violence offenders

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NSW Police IT system lacks auto-alerts for domestic violence offenders

Officers forced to search manually for past crimes, report finds.

NSW’s core operational policing system (COPS) does not automatically alert officers to repeat domestic violence offenders when incident reports are filed, an audit has found.

Laborious data entry requirements in the 27-year-old system were also found to be negatively impacting incident reporting, with some officers taking “short cuts to save time”.

The audit into police responses to domestic and family violence, released earlier this month, described COPS as “limited in its effectiveness” for recording and reviewing crimes.

Citing evidence provided by officers, the audit said the system is “duplicative and time-consuming” as it requires them to “enter the same information in multiple screens before they can progress”.

For domestic and family violence incidents where children are present, officers estimated that data entry could take up to an hour.

“These onerous data entry requirements reduce the time that police can dedicate to other tasks,” the audit said.

COPS is also “single event orientated”, meaning police must “manually search through narrative summaries associated with other events” to identify earlier offending.

Even an improved search facility, added to COPS in the 2019-20 financial year, that “allows for prompt display of an individual’s prior involvement with domestic violence”, has not helped.

“Despite improvements to the COPS system over the years, police advise that the system cannot make connections between related events or individuals,” the audit said.

“The system does not automatically identify repeat offenders for example, and related information is not displayed as automated alerts in COPS.

“In order to identify related individuals or events, police must manually scroll and read through narrative summaries.

“These can be lengthy according to police who were interviewed for this audit.”

IPOS to reduce reporting times by up to 20 percent

NSW Police is currently in the process of developing a new cloud-based integrated policing operating system (IPOS) to replace COPS.

The system – which will also replace the force’s computer-aided dispatch system for Triple Zero callouts – will be used for everyday operations like arrests, as well as investigations and forensics.

US-based public safety software provider Mark43 was selected to deliver the system in March 2021 following a five-year search that also saw it dump plans for an Accenture-built solution.

While IPOS is still some years away, the force expects domestic and family violence reporting will become up to 20 percent faster for officers when the functionality arrives in June 2025.

“As part of the replacement project, [NSW Police] assessed the data entry requirements of the two systems,” the audit said.

“It determined that it could achieve at least a 15-20 percent reduction in the time taken to record domestic and family violence incidents in the new system.”

It is not yet known if the system will include “alerts for domestic and family violence events that are linked, or for individuals recorded in prior events”, according to the audit.

“The IPOS system is being designed to improve functionality in both data entry and retrieval,” the report said.

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