Police IT budget hazy

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While the Department of Safety and Security increases its spending, it fails to make any specific allocations for IT projects.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa previously identified organised crime as a key focus area for the year, saying the department would up its cyber crime capabilities and improve the integration of its IT systems. But the department has not made any specific allocations in line with these statements.

While recently renamed the Department of Police, it has presented its budget and strategy as the Department of Safety and Security.

The department did, however, increase allocations to its detective services programmes and increased support for its intelligence and forensic capabilities - areas the minister identified for additional support.

In its medium-term estimates, the department, which has been allocated R41.5 billion for the year, revealed its expenditure has increased at an average annual rate of 12.2%. Spending is expected to reach R55 billion by 2011/12, increasing at a rate of 9.9%.

Administration programmes were allocated R15 billion for developing policy and managing the department. Detective services, which include the criminal record centres and forensic science laboratories, were allocated R7.6 billion for the year. Crime intelligence programmes, which cover intelligence and information management systems, received R1.7 billion. Visible policing received the highest allocation, of R19 billion.

Additional allocations in the 2009 budget will increase the department's budget by R2.2 billion in 2010/11 and R3.9 billion in 2011/12. The department says the strong growth in expenditure over the medium-term mainly reflects the investment in capital infrastructure and resources such as the automated vehicle location system, the security requirements for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the upgrading of its IT network, and additional human and physical resource capacity for the forensic science and crime intelligence functions.

Tech praised

The department says new technologies have improved case turnaround time, examination quality, the accuracy of firearms identification, and increased the capacity to process DNA-related entries.

The upgrading of 60 local criminal record centre fingerprint laboratories has also increased capacity to provide relevant scientific support in the investigation of crime, the department stated.

Over the medium-term period, the department will appoint additional personnel, buy equipment for forensic science laboratories, and expand the forensic science laboratories and the DNA database.

Additional allocations of R250 million, over the medium term of the 2008 budget, and R100 million over the medium term of the 2009 budget, have been earmarked to replace and upgrade specialised technology in forensic science laboratories countrywide.

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