Police IT teams build easy-access data store


Police IT teams build easy-access data store

Daniel Thomas

Two police forces in North West England have developed their own datawarehousing systems to give officers quick and easy access to information stored in multiple databases.

The Opus system, which goes live in two weeks' time, was developed in-house by five IT staff at Greater Manchester Police using Oracle’s Internet Application Server software. It was based on a similar system, known as Sleuth, developed by Lancashire Constabulary.

Jen Mulcahy, IT director at Greater Manchester Police, said Opus would give officers a "full picture" of information relating to an investigation, which is time-consuming as users have to search through different Oracle 9i databases.

Greater Manchester Police uses Compaq Proliant servers, Oracle 9i database and application server software and Windows 2003 and NT.

“The system takes information out of legacy systems in a similar way to a data warehouse,” she said. “This could be anything from criminal records to vehicle data to people’s known associates – the full picture. It will help in what we call active briefing of officers.”

Opus uses national police standards where available and will be used as the basis for information sharing across the North West, Mulcahy said, adding that the use of standards could allow regional sharing to become national sharing across the the UK.

Mulcahy said the development of Opus would continue. "We are building applications that will allow us to add information from different sources to the system," she said. "We are planning further releases of the system every three months."

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