NSW Police get $6M forensic imaging boost

NSW Police get $6M forensic imaging boost

June 19, 2009:The New South Wales (NSW) Police Force has speedier forensic investigations in sight with a new digital image system that will help manage more than a million digital photographs that it takes each year.

Unisys Australia has won three-year $A6M deal to implement and provide maintenance services for an end-to-end digital imagery management system. This system is designed to allow the Police Force to protect images as evidence while streamlining the process of managing, sharing and accessing them to save critical time in criminal investigations.

The Shared Imagery Management System (SIMS) will have the FotoWare digital asset management software at its heart, running on on eight Unisys ES3240L and 24 Unisys ES3215L Enterprise Servers. EMC will supply Centera for the digital vault and EMC CLARiiON for the storage supporting the work system

It is claimed the NSW Police Force will be the first police force in Australia to implement a digital imagery system of this scale with a searchable central repository.

“We are investing in the future of the NSW Police Force by providing officers with the necessary resources to do their job effectively using modern, smart policing strategies,” said Detective Superintendent Ken Hughes, Commander of the Operational Information Agency, NSW Police Force.

“Moving to a digital-based imagery management system will save critical time in the law enforcement process. Officers can check the quality of their photography before leaving crime scenes, with no need to process and print photographic film. In addition, they will be able quickly search, retrieve and distribute filed images.

“As Australia’s largest police organisation covering a diverse population of seven million people across more than 800,000 square kilometres, we deal with very high case loads so time efficiency is critical. In addition, digital imagery is pervasive in our society - from cameras in mobile phones to closed circuit TV cameras – so we receive a large volume of imagery from the public. The Unisys solution will help us protect digital images and footage, while enabling investigators to access and use them more effectively,” he said.

Forensic experts will be able to use SIMS to upload images from digital cameras, and securely archive encrypted copies of them in a digital “vault” where the hardware locks the images so they cannot be modified or deleted. They would then attach metadata tags to a working copy of the images which may include a job number, time and date of shot, and name of photographer, for easy retrieval. The system tracks what has happened to the image at every step of the process to ensure forensic integrity.

The video and images collected from the public comes from a range of sources in a wide variety of formats. To make it easier and quicker for investigators to use this imagery, a copy of the original file will be saved into the digital vault, and then another working copy of the image will be passed through a powerful transcoding application to convert the file into a common, easily accessible format.