Punjab Police’s Computerized System Collapsed

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LAHORE: Funds’ shortage forced Punjab Police to shelve Police Record and Office Management System (PROMIS) and Pakistan Automated Finger Print Identification System (PAFIS), a high ranked officer of Central Police Office (CPO) working on PROMIS disclosed to News Lens Pakistan.

Seeking anonymity as he is not supposed to leak the information to media, a high rank officer said that PROMIS was made functional by the authorities of Punjab Police in 2011 with the help of a private company hired by Federal Government. “The system performed successfully for two years and was extended by the authorities up to 100 police stations across Lahore and Punjab after the completion of the pilot project,” the officer claimed.

He further disclosed that after two years the system started malfunctioning because of Defective hardware. He told that Wi-Max technology was used to connect PROMIS within districts whereas Fiber Optic was used to connect between districts.

“Antennas of Wi-Max installed at different police stations for connectivity were about 30 feet high whereas the minimum requirement for interconnectivity was about 70 feet. Computer, fax machines and printers became faulty due to negligence of officers concerned,” the officer told News Lens Pakistan. Moreover, in 2013, the Federal Government discontinued provision of operational expenses that finally forced authorities to close the project.

In charge PROMIS and Additional Director Computers Shaheena Khalid told News Lens Pakistan that PROMIS worked effectively for more than two years but the problem started after the federal government stopped issuing funds.

“The hardware and software providing firm was M/S Dialog Broadband (DBB), selected by National Police Bureau and Ministry of Interior Islamabad, has kept everything under control and never allowed police officials to intervene in the repair and maintenance of this software,” she said.

She claimed the company demanded a high price for troubleshooting which Punjab Police failed to provide. “Company always suggested Punjab Police to purchase new hardware in order to extend the project in different police stations despite the existence of troubleshooting problems,” she added.

Shaheena further stated that Pakistan Automated Finger Print Identification System was never in control of Punjab Police. “Even the police staff do not have access to pass codes that help to re-start computer in case of tripping,” she said.

The control room and main server of PAFIS were in custody of Federal Investigation Agency and were placed at the head office located in Islamabad. “Punjab Police officials do not have access to see records or to match fingerprints,” Shaheena said.

In response to a question, she said that higher authorities of Punjab Government as a policy matter shelved the project. Shaheena told News Lens Pakistan that Punjab Government has planned to launch the new project for computerizing Punjab Police’s records with the help of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).

In-charge PROMIS for Lahore Police, SP Crime Record Office (CRO) Umer Riaz Cheema, while confirming the closure of PROMIS and PAFIS, said that the project was never in control of Punjab or Lahore Police. He added that Lahore Police with the help of PITB is developing a new system to computerize Lahore Police’s records. While addressing a query, he said that the financial constraints became the major reason for shelving PROMIS and PFAIS.

According to the documents available with News Lens Pakistan, PROMIS was a project funded by the Federal Government, approved in April 2005 at the cost of 1.4 billion rupees to implement it country wide. The executing agency was National Police Bureau (NPB). The hardware for the project was provided in 2008, whereas the first generation software was handed over to the end users in August 2010. PROMIS was designed for automation of police station records including FIRs and office management system.

It was also designed to provide the required services to various police branches, designing of MIS to facilitate operational activities of police, ERP solutions for police including finance & budgeting, assets & accounts, human resources, vehicle management, pay and procurements etc., strengthening of Police Training Institutes for IT training and for provision of data sharing facility within Police department to enhance their operational capability to fight against serious and organized crimes.

Likewise PAFIS was designed for capacity building of Law Enforcement Agencies to combat organized crimes and terrorism, for developing infrastructure and networking for instant identification of criminals through fingerprints, provision of database sharing facility and provision of training to fingerprint technicians. The system also helps LEA officials in cross-matching & processing of latent prints lifted from crime scenes and searches the fingerprints of accused/suspects with the help of this software.

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