Computer meltdown hits police (Australia) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Computer meltdown hits police By MADONNA CAMERON 16nov99

THIEVES are walking free and stolen goods are not being recovered because Queensland Police Service computers crash under the strain of stolen property checks.

The Stolen Property Investigation Report System, known as SPIRS, runs a statewide check of stolen property against goods kept by pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers.

However, when police try to run a check through the system it crashes.

One Queensland police officer said his station was recently asked by the Property Crime Squad why it was not using the system.

"It's because it doesn't work," he said pointing to out-dated computers as the reason.

The police officer said the station's computers could access the software, "but when you punch in the details, the system collapses".

The officer said this made it very difficult to recover stolen goods when a suspect may have stolen 50 property items.

He said when the system did work it could take up to an hour to complete a simple check.

Queensland Police Service annual report released last week said 25 percent of break-and-enter victims did not bother reporting the crime.

One of the main reasons given: "I thought there was nothing the police could do."

Property Crime Squad detective inspector Steve Tregarthen said the collapse was "just a teething problem".

"We have recently pushed training of the system in the regions and like anything new everyone tries to use it at the same time and it becomes slow."

Queensland Police Union president Gary Wilkinson said the technological upgrade of regional police stations was a constant battle with some stations getting their first fax machine only six months ago.

"There is a whole range of reasons why stolen property is not recovered, but this does not help," Mr Wilkinson said.

He said the union had approached successive governments to update the ailing computer system.

"A lot of police had to go down to the ambulance station to send or receive a fax. Some even had to go to the local newsagent or the pub," Mr Wilkinson said.

A spokesman for Police Minister Tom Barton said yesterday the Government recognised there was a problem and hoped it would be addressed by a budget allocation of $10.7million for computer upgrades within the next 12 months.

He said the problem occurred because SPIRS had been set up as a small system for State Crime Operations but had then been moved to stations in the regions.

Mr Wilkinson said although the SPIRS system was not accessed through the main police computer service, it highlighted a problem with police computing services in general.

"The mainframe system has started to clog up and it's getting worse," he said.

"It has been recognised for some time, but we're waiting with baited breath for the service and the Government to get their act together."

-- Homer Beanfang (, November 15, 1999


This reminds me of our 50% status on 911 service---and look!! ---

Not press worthy!! I can just imagine---"call 911, call 911"


-- d.b. (, November 15, 1999.

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