Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RCMP explains PRIME-BC system

Last week a new tool for police was introduced as the Prince Rupert detachment joined the rest of the province in the use of PRIME-BC.

A computer based information system; Monday's Daily News outlined the details on the new tool for BC's 7000 RCMP officers as well as local police forces across the province.

Technology gives RCMP the edge
Officers will have vital information at their fingertips in an instant
By Kris Schumacher ,
The Daily News
Monday, March 24, 2008

Pages one and three

It's been an exciting couple weeks for members of the Prince Rupert RCMP, after they started using a new information database system that promises to increase public safety and maximize police efficiency.

The last of 40 detachments in the North District to go online, Prince Rupert RCMP is now linked to the Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME-BC) system, an information sharing database that connects them not only to files from the local detachment, but across British Columbia and eventually Canada.

"This new technology will revolutionize the way we do business here in Prince Rupert," said Constable Krista Vrolyk, Prince Rupert RCMP community policing officer.

“The difference the average citizen will see is the way we are enforcing and investigating our files with computer terminals in our vehicles. This means wherever we are, we can access information, so you’ll see many more members visible on the streets conducting our investigations.”

Local RCMP have traditionally relied on their radios for requesting and receiving all of their information while conducting investigations, but they will now have immediate access to the wealth of information in the PRIME-BC system through the computer terminals located in their vehicles.

Vrolyk says often-times members have needed to return to the detachment in order to continue their investigation or retrieve a piece of information, but in many cases now PRIME-BC will eliminate the need for that extra trip back to the office and allow officers to work right from their vehicles.

“I know what we’re doing is not a real sexy crime or breaking news story, but it’s going to lead to some crime breaking news stories in the future,” said RCMP Superintendent Ken Hardy, officer in charge of PRIME-BC for “E” Division.

“This is the latest version of police records management and the unique thing is; all police departments with independence and RCMP detachments are utilizing the same system, so there’s a sharing of information across jurisdictions.

”Nowhere else in the world today does this occur, so it’s truly unique for policing in Canada.”
In addition to making the job of police more efficient and effective, PRIME will also enhance the safety of officers and general public.

Since all the information entered by investigating officers is shared in real time, information on known criminals or suspects is constantly updated giving police a much better idea of what is happening in their own district or across the province. For example, a suspect known to, or wanted by, police may change his appearance or receive a new distinguishing feature, all of which can be shared with RCMP across the province instantaneously.

And he said the new system will safeguard information so that it is on ly seen by the right eyes.
Superintendent Handy said the Departmental Security Branch of the RCMP has built all the necessary firewalls and links to safeguard the information and the transfer of data.

“In my experience over the past three-and-a-half years, I am not aware of any attempt by anybody to breach the system externally,” said Handy. “But that’s not a challenge for the hackers out there.”

RCMP in the Queen Charlotte Islands have also recently started using PRIME, and with the addition of the Kelowna detachment in the very near future, every RCMP detachment in British Columbia will be connected. The total cost of initiating PRIME province-wide is approximately $40 million, with the province paying 70 per cent of that cost and the federal government covering the remaining 30 per cent. Municipal governments also contributed by funding the four days of PRIME training required of their local officers, working out to $185 per employee, per day of training.“We are now closer to a paperless environment than we have ever been before,” said Handy.

“It’s been a significant exercise in change management to train and instruct some 7.000 people across the province. What we’d like the public to appreciate is that in the next days and weeks, as Prince Rupert adapts to this new system people may see routine complaints taking a little longer to be processed. However, there will absolutely no change to police response to emergency situations.

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