Incis impact on policing huge - MP's (computer problem - Wellington New Zealand - IBM screws Kiwis - Kiwis go cuckoo) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


October 19, 1999


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Incis impact on policing huge--MPs

Police chiefs under fire

by Peter Luke in Wellington

Problems with Incis have had a huge impact on policing in New Zealand, says a select committee report on the controversial computer project.

The committee slams police management of Incis and demands to know who is to blame.

The report has been completed with legal action pending between the Government and IBM over Incis, whose capital costs rose from $97 million to $132 million. It points to huge community frustrations and police morale loss over Incis.

"The cost over-runs, the delays, and the eventual non-completion of the project are having a huge impact on policing in New Zealand.

"We want to know who is accountable," said the committee, in a majority report not signed up to by National and ACT MPs.

The committee slated police management and lines of accountability of Incis at all levels, hinting this included Commissioner Peter Doone.

It raised questions about the responsibilities, appointment, and removal of police commissioners, saying these must be urgently clarified.

Mr Doone had accepted "full responsibility" for Incis, the committee noted.

"We want to know what the consequences are in terms of accountability for a failure of a project the size of Incis," it said.

Three National back-benchers and an ACT MP, in a minority report, said committee inquiries had covered only part of the evidence which government and IBM lawyers would present in any legal action.

It was foolhardy and premature for the committee to think it could allocate blame, said the minority report.

Finance Minister Bill Birch reinforced this view, accusing the opposition MPs of playing politics, especially after Labour called for the last three police ministers to be held accountable.

"Proximity to an election and desire for political advantage distort the shape and timing of the report, and reduce the value of the Opposition majority's conclusions," said Sir William, chairman of a ministerial committee on Incis.

The private sector's role in the affair must be balanced against the accountability of State agencies, he said.

The project was originally due for completion in 1997 but when computer giant IBM quit the project in May this year the final two stages were still incomplete. The Government is suing IBM for at least $6 million, with a counter-claim from the company for $75 million.

Most of report's detail of the rising tension between police and IBM was not new, but it criticised a police failure to tell the Government of the growing problems.

"We consider that all levels of the police failed to report adequately on the project," said the committee.

Mr Doone was given the chance to respond to "adverse findings" after being shown a committee draft, especially the allegation that the police had failed to keep the Government informed.

"I reject the suggestion that the reporting process was other than extensive," he said.

The majority report said government departments should only sign up to smaller and less complex information systems than Incis and favour "off the shelf" software. There should be greater Treasury and State Service scrutiny of such projects.

The committee also examined the police 111 system after a series of complaints over the past three years that there were delays in answering calls, or an inadequate response. It acknowledged an improvement in the new Communications and Resource Deployment System.

It recommended tougher legislation and a publicity campaign to reduce hoax calls, and more regular performance assessments of the system.

-- Homer Beanfang (, October 18, 1999



-- Tom Carey (, October 18, 1999.

INCIS: Intergrated National Crime Information System (or something very similar). It was a large computer project aimed at establishing a crime fighting database. Managed (or mismanaged) by IBM, but with specs that the New Zealand police kept on changing. This project was a disaster from the start, but rather than blame IBM, the main blame should be place on the politician responsible, Bill Birch.

This is not a Y2K issue, only an example of a political bungle.


-- Malcolm Taylor (, October 19, 1999.

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