NSW Police appoint CIO

New South Wales Police has hired its first CIO, with Tony Rooke taking the helm to develop, oversee and implement the force's information and technology strategies.

Previously head of business technology services operating out of the State Police Centre in near-Sydney Surry Hills, Rooke's appointment follows a wide-ranging review of the force's IT activities, officially described as a "re-focusing".

In an interesting choice of words, a Police Media release states that Rooke's role will "see a renewed emphasis on the role of technology in assisting crime fighting activities".

Rooke's most immediately-pressing project will undoubtedly be supervising the transition of the force onto the delayed COPS2 (Computerised Operational Policing System), which has been funded to the tune of $58.4 million for the current financial year.

Tasked with processing 1.8 million incidents a year - including 139,000 charges, 147,000 custody records and 210,000 intelligence reports, the current mainframe-based COPS system is approaching the end of its lifecycle.

It is envisaged COPS2 will run in four stages of two years each, covering new work practices, data migration and, according to one source, will also include an intranet based on J2EE. Meanwhile, the force is standardising the operating environment of its desktop fleet of 10,000 machines dispersed throughout NSW over Windows XP.

Other major NSW Police IT initiatives related to COPS2 funded out of the 2003 budget include:

  • Improvement of suspect vehicle identification through enhanced data capture capabilities.
  • Better spatial, location and tracking information based on GPS and electronic maps.
  • Deployment of mobile devices including PDAs and mobile data terminals, photographs and fingerprints and the ability to up-load data on the job.
  • Enabling external agencies such as the courts, coroner and analytic laboratories to input investigation data directly into the system.

Graded at Level 4 of the NSW senior executive service (SES), Rooke will report to Deputy Commissioner of Support Andrew Scipione, who is understood to be keen to better leverage police intelligence tools combined with delivery of real time information to police on the beat.

Advertised in September, the position's selection criteria notably listed "experience in driving cultural change".

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