Throughout 2018–19 we have taken great strides in supporting our partners to ensure a safer and more secure Australia. This is something we will continue to strive towards as we work within the Home Affairs portfolio as a member of the National Intelligence Community.
It is my vision for the ACIC to be the agency of choice when it comes to law enforcement intelligence. Our goal is for the ACIC to become the trusted partner for fighting organised crime and source of criminal intelligence for our partners. Engagement with our partners has identified areas of opportunity where we must build capability to effectively meet current and future operational and strategic needs.
We are one integrated agency, and building our reputation as the source of criminal intelligence is fundamental to our future. We want to be the ‘centre of excellence’ for criminal intelligence. Building a comprehensive strategic picture of serious and organised crime activities in Australia is central to our ability to connect, discover, understand and respond to crime impacting Australia.
Significant developments in 2018–19
The Australian Priority Organisation Target list is a seminal document for our partners both here in Australia and overseas. The list focuses on offshore targets impacting Australia, detailing the top-tier international and transnational targets that play a significant role within Australia’s serious and organised crime environment. It has been gratifying to see our state and territory partners work with us to create their own Regional Priority Organisation Target lists.
The development of the National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS) continued to progress throughout 2018–19. This important national capability will give Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies the first truly national and unified picture of criminal activity. Its successful delivery is our agency’s number one priority.
Full funding to support delivery of NCIS’s Tranche 1 was secured in 2018–19. The first tranche will deliver the foundation of NCIS. It focuses on frontline services and aims to improve officer safety by providing a national view of crime. It will provide targeted, timely, relevant, prioritised national policing information, improving our ability to work together across jurisdictions and agencies.
We are now working in close collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs, which has come on board as our senior supplier. The joint ACIC–Home Affairs Program Team has been working to set up the program, define Tranche 1 in detail, work with partners to develop an integrated work schedule, and establish the technical underpinnings.
The NCIS is just one of the many ways we connect our partners to the information, intelligence and policing knowledge they need. This information is not only crucial in equipping the 70,000 police and non-police users to perform their jobs; it is also critical in keeping them safe while working on the front line.
This financial year we have made many ICT improvements to our internal systems as well as those that support our partners. In addition to meeting our system availability targets for all systems in 2018–19, we delivered enhancements to many national policing information systems and completed several internal infrastructure capability and consolidation projects.
We partner with Australian police agencies to provide the National Police Checking Service (NPCS). The NPCS enhances the safety of the community by providing accurate and timely police information that helps organisations to make informed decisions about the suitability of applicants for a range of employment, registration, licensing and other entitlements. The NPCS Transformation Program has been working with our police partners this year to commence a body of work that will modernise the service to enhance service delivery.
Part of our work this financial year has focused on ensuring that we are the most efficient and effective agency we can be. We needed to ensure that our skills and people were in the locations that best allowed us to deliver on the agency’s national and international focuses as Australia’s centre of excellence and partner of choice for criminal intelligence. We implemented a new structure with a ‘greenfield’ approach, which was framed by the question ‘If we were creating the ACIC today to deliver on current and future priorities, what would it look like?’
I am confident that our new structure puts us in good stead to better coordinate and build our national capacity and capability across the intelligence continuum, allowing us to better facilitate business outcomes for our partners.
Outlook for 2019–20
Looking forward, our focus will remain on further strengthening our relationships within the National Intelligence Community and responding to the criminal risks facing Australia, through three key areas of delivery: criminal intelligence capability, national criminal intelligence, and policing information services and the NPCS. You can read more detail about these planned activities in our corporate plan for 2019–20.
Looking back at our achievements over the past year, it is clear that the ACIC is strongly positioned to continue its important work of supporting our partners and creating a safer Australia that is better connected, informed and capable of responding to crime.
Michael Phelan APM
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission