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Connect

We help our partners by: providing them with systems and services; sharing criminal intelligence and information, policing and other relevant information; and connecting partners to us and each other.

Connect 1

Table showing Performance criterion for Connect 1—Existing ACIC systems and services are accessible, used and reliable. Result–Met.

Achievements

We group our systems into broad service categories:

  • Frontline—These systems enable police agencies to share essential policing information with each other in relation to people, vehicles, firearms and ballistics. This can assist them to undertake a broad range of community policing and criminal investigations.
  • Biometric and forensic—These systems help police to solve crimes through our biometric services, including fingerprint and DNA systems, and assist police to identify missing persons, human remains and disaster victims.
  • Protection—These systems assist police with finding information on domestic violence orders, managing child sex offenders and identifying child exploitation images.
  • Checking—To protect the safety of the community, this system enables police agencies and ACIC-accredited bodies to request a nationally coordinated criminal history check to support organisations to make informed decisions about the suitability of applicants for employment and positions of trust.
  • Criminal intelligence—These systems facilitate dissemination and sharing of criminal intelligence, including databases of intelligence holdings that can be accessed and analysed by approved users.

We measure our performance against this criterion by assessing:

  • system availability—the proportion of time systems were available and providing reliable access to services (excluding scheduled outages)
  • service beneficiaries—the range of agencies to which we provide services
  • service usage—the number of users in partner agencies and the number of system searches and nationally coordinated criminal history checks
  • stakeholder survey results—responses to specific questions related to system performance in our stakeholder survey.
Availability

System availability reporting provides the percentage of time systems were available, excluding scheduled outages. National availability is calculated based on user notifications of outages impacting multiple jurisdictions. As many of our systems are integrated or routed via partner agency systems, issues unrelated to our service can affect availability.

An agreed availability benchmark is developed by the ACIC Board for each of our frontline systems and other systems that directly support police operations, including police checks. Benchmarks are based on usage requirements.

Results against the availability benchmarks are set out in Table 2.9.

Table 2.9: System availability

Service type

System

Board-agreed benchmark

Historical averagea

2019–20

(%)

(%)

(%)

Frontline

National Police Reference System

99.5

99.53

99.64

National Firearms Identification Database

96.0

99.69

99.84

Australian Ballistic Information Network

95.0

99.97

100.00

Australian Firearms Information Network

n.a.

99.42

n.a.

99.93

n.a.

National Vehicles of Interest System

99.0

99.89

99.51

Biometric and forensic

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System

99.4

99.68

99.88

National Criminal Investigation DNA Database

99.0

99.60

99.67

National Missing Persons and Victim System

96.0

99.84

99.97

Protection

National Child Offender System

99.5

99.57

99.67

Child Exploitation Tracking System

96.0

99.95

100.00

Checking

National Police Checking Service/NPCS Support Systemb

99.0

98.54

99.65

Criminal intelligence

Australian Law Enforcement Intelligence Network

n.a.

99.93

n.a.

99.23

n.a.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Databasec

n.a.

99.99

n.a.

99.23

n.a.

National Target System

n.a.

99.96

n.a.

99.98

n.a.

✔= Benchmark met

✘= Benchmark not met

n.a. = not applicable

a Historical averages are based on two to four years of data. This measure was not used uniformly across all systems in previous years, so we are still building up data for a full four-year historical trend on some systems.

b During 2017–18, two significant incidents affected National Police Checking Service/NPCS Support System availability, leading to 96.63% availability. This atypical result has lowered the four-year historical average to below the board-agreed benchmark of 99.00%.

c The Australian Criminal Intelligence Database system also hosts the Violent and Sexual Crime Database and Clandestine Laboratory Database.

Service beneficiaries

Our frontline, biometric and forensic, and criminal intelligence services are provided to all Australian police forces. Appropriate access is also available to some other agencies, including the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Department of Defence and state-based crime and corruption bodies.

Through the NPCS Support System, the NPCS administers access to nationally coordinated criminal history checks for ACIC-accredited bodies and Australian police agencies. The checks help organisations to make informed decisions about the suitability of applicants for things such as employment in paid or volunteer positions, Australian citizenship, work with children or vulnerable people, and various licensing and registration schemes. ACIC-accredited bodies include government agencies, private sector businesses and commercial businesses acting in a broker capacity; not-for-profit organisations; and screening units responsible for the assessment of people who apply to work with children or vulnerable people or under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

As a result of stricter contractual obligations and increased compliance activities, the number of bodies for whom checks were performed reduced by 19 accredited bodies during 2019–20. The total remained in line with the historical average, as shown in Table 2.10.

Table 2.10: Stakeholder bodies for whom criminal history checks were processed

Stakeholders

Four-year historical average

2019–20

Bodies for whom nationally coordinated criminal history checks were processed

195

191

↔ = Result within 5% of historical average

Our web-based Court Portal enables domestic violence orders in the NPRS to be shared between police and courts across Australia. In 2019–20, the system was searched 2,114 times.

Service users

Table 2.11 provides details of the numbers of users of our systems in 2019–20.

The Child Exploitation Tracking System is used by only a limited number of users. This is intentionally limited due to the nature of the work the system supports, to minimise the emotional impact on staff caused by explicit materials. As a result, the number of users is not an effective performance measure, and the system is not included in the table.

The decommissioning of the National Names Index has centralised names to the NPRS. The National Firearms Licensing and Registration System has been superseded by AFIN. The final police partner agency will be migrated to AFIN during 2020–21.

Table 2.11: Service users

Service type

System

Historical averagea

2019–20

Frontline

National Police Reference System

76,886

54,636

National Firearms Identification Databaseb

32

82

Australian Ballistic Information Network

113

108

Australian Firearms Information Network

608

1,080

National Vehicles of Interest System

9,833

36,870

Biometric and forensic

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System

704

696

National Criminal Investigation DNA Database

168

103

National Missing Persons and Victim System

579

876

Protection

National Child Offender System

1,920

940

Criminal intelligence

Australian Law Enforcement Intelligence Network

4,464

4,135

Australian Criminal Intelligence Databasec

2,394

2,279

National Target System

860

1,012

⬆ = Result 5% or more above historical average

⬇ = Result 5% or more below historical average

↔ = Result within 5% of historical average

a Historical averages are based on two to four years of data. This measure was not used uniformly across all systems in previous years; we are still building up data for a full four-year historical trend on the National Firearms Identification Database and Australian Firearms Information Network systems.

b The National Firearms Identification Database does not have an individual user login. User statistics are based on IP address.

c The Australian Criminal Intelligence Database system also hosts the Violent and Sexual Crime Database and Clandestine Laboratory Database.

Note: Totals represent either ‘total’ or ‘active’ users of each system, depending on which system statistics are available.

Searches

Results for numbers of searches were affected by transitions between systems in 2019–20.

The large increase in AFIN and National Firearms Identification Database (NFID) searches was expected, as users were transitioning to the AFIN from the National Firearms Licensing and Registration System. In addition, the ACIC conducted a range of activities which contributed to increasing search numbers across these systems, including:

  • a ‘Firearm Systems Roadshow’ which provided a user overview and promoted AFIN and NFID improvements
  • technical enhancements to make the NFID more accessible
  • the publication of NFID data on the ACIC’s website, increasing access for firearm users.

The Feature: ACIC database assists New Zealand’s firearm buyback scheme provides a case study of the ACIC’s collaboration and contribution of specialist services to meet the needs of our New Zealand partners.

The ACIC is progressively integrating all police partners with the AFIN: two policing partners integrated their data in 2019–20. Integration with the AFIN provides each police partner with access to the full historical data holdings in the system and creates a national record showing the lifecycle of every firearm in Australia.

Table 2.12 provides details of searches conducted by users of the ACIC’s active systems.

Table 2.12: Searches conducted

Service type

System

Four-year historical average

2019–20

Frontline

National Police Reference System

36,871,546

38,922,218

National Firearms Identification Database

18,436

46,999

Australian Ballistic Information Networka

2,626

4,329

Australian Firearms Information Networkb

40,558

443,921

National Vehicles of Interest System

7,672,305

6,223,497

Biometric and forensic

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System

1,487,537

1,507,182

Criminal intelligence

Australian Criminal Intelligence Database

368,608

241,517

⬆ = Result 5% or more above historical average

⬇ = Result 5% or more below historical average

a Processes were implemented during 2018–19 to capture statistics from the Australian Ballistic Information Network. Previously, search information was automatically deleted by the system, so only a partial result for 2018–19 is shown.

b Searches of the National Firearms Licensing and Registration System decreased during 2019–20, consistent with decommissioning of the platform. A number of police partner agencies had a low rate of adoption of the Australian Firearms Information Network when it was delivered at the end of 2016 and continued to actively use the National Firearms Licensing and Registration System until it was decommissioned. Therefore, the four-year historical average may not accurately reflect performance over time.

Nationally coordinated criminal history checks

The number of nationally coordinated criminal history checks conducted through ACIC systems rose by only 0.1 per cent in 2019–20. This result was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with check volumes and revenue reducing significantly from March 2020. In 2019–20, check submissions exceeded 5.6 million, as shown in Table 2.13.

Table 2.13: Police history checks submitted

Measure

Four-year historical average

2019–20

Number of nationally coordinated criminal history checks submitted

5,002,569

5,634,321

⬆ = Result 5% or more above historical average

The NPCS timeliness measure shown in Table 2.14 is not only an ACIC performance measure, but also one shared by our police partners in providing this service to the wider community and other agencies.

When an initial search reveals a potential match (as occurs in approximately 30 per cent of checks), it is referred to the relevant police jurisdiction for further assessment. If police confirm a match, they apply the relevant spent conviction legislation and/or relevant information release policies to determine what information can be disclosed, before finalising the check and returning the result directly to the accredited body or police agency that lodged the check. This process may be complicated and, in a small number of cases, may cause delays beyond the agreed timeframes.

Table 2.14: Police history checks completed on time

Measure

Board-agreed benchmark

Four-year historical average

2019–20

On time—standard checks
Target: 10 days

95.0%

96.2%

P

94.9%

On time—urgent checks
Target: 5 days

95.0%

91.1%

90.8%

✔= Benchmark met

✘= Benchmark not met

Stakeholder survey results

Table 2.15: Stakeholder survey results—Connect 1

 The ACIC is trustworthy in handling our partners’ information; Proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed 2019–20 = 83% a change of Nil from 2018–19 = 83% 2017–18 = 83%.

Connect 2

Table showing Performance criterion for Connect 2—Through effective collaboration, enable the delivery and implementation of new and enhanced ACIC systems and services that satisfy the needs of stakeholders and users. Result–Partially met.

Achievements

By delivering and implementing new and enhanced national systems and services, we increased the capability of our partners and contributed to the effectiveness of our collective efforts to make Australia safer from crime.

Projects delivered to partners

The Australian Law Enforcement Intelligence Network (ALEIN) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Database remediation project commenced in 2019 and focused on replacing aging physical hardware and firewalls. Upgrades to the database, application services and the operating system were also conceived. The first component of replacing the ALEIN mail servers was completed, reducing the risks of failure of this system into the future. The other components have been postponed until further funding becomes available.

The development of the Working with Children Checks National Reference System was completed in 2018–19. The service supports decisions to approve applicants to work with children, including the national provision of negative notices to relevant stakeholders. Two of the relevant state agencies, in Tasmania and Western Australia, have completed their integration and are live on the system. Both agencies have benefitted from the system in several instances in which applicants applying for a certification were shown to have been refused certification in another jurisdiction. Due to COVID-19 limitations, the remaining states and territories are yet to join the system.

AFIN system enhancements were delivered on 30 September 2019, providing new features and improved functionality and usability. The enhancements included an infrastructure and version upgrade to version 8.1. Direct integration into the AFIN was commenced by the Western Australia Police Force on 29 July 2020 and the AFP on 5 November 2020. To ensure access to the AFIN system for partners as more policing services integrate, the ACIC delivered the AFIN Backwards-Compatibility Solution on 19 October 2019. This allows legacy National Firearms Licensing and Registration System data to be provisioned to AFIN until partners have integrated directly into the system.

Projects progressed

During 2019–20, significant work occurred to progress the NCIS development program. NCIS will be a whole-of-government capability which will give Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies the first truly national and unified picture of criminal activity. It will improve community safety by providing a secure and trusted information-sharing platform for frontline law enforcement, enabling jurisdictions to share criminal information and intelligence and improving the law enforcement and intelligence community’s ability to work together across jurisdictions on common outcomes. The NCIS program will deliver core capability by December 2020.

NCIS is now hosted in the ACIC environment and receiving continuous updates of NPRS data. Using only NPRS data, NCIS has enabled correlation not only across fingerprint identification but also around records containing same driver licence identification, same photo of the person of interest and exact address match for a person of interest.

A business case to replace the Child Exploitation Tracking System capabilities with a more contemporary application was prepared and presented to the ACIC Board. The new application will reside with the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation which is subject to funding approval for funding to progress the development of the new application.

Projects planned

The NPCS Technical Uplift and Business Enhancement Project has progressed a range of system changes to stabilise and improve the performance and enhance the existing functionality of the NPCS Support System.

The NAFIS Hardware Stabilisation Project was initiated in December 2019 and will be delivered by October 2020. The project will remove risk posed to NAFIS by obsolete infrastructure and will increase the performance, reliability and availability of the system.

NAFIS NextGen is the planned new version of the system. It will ensure that fingerprint identification capability used by all police partner agencies continues to be supported and will deliver process automation that will result in increased efficiencies for partner agency staff.

The Partner Collaboration Services Project is intended to sustain and improve the ability of the ACIC to collaborate and share protected information with our external partners in particular states and territories. This will be delivered by developing effective governance; configuring the service to meet business and security requirements; and expanding our software platform to replace our unsupported extranet.

Stakeholder survey results

The underlying fingerprint system works well, and we use it a lot. Having that system makes a big difference, and keeping this older system working 24/7 has been vital.’—State policing partner, 2020 Stakeholder Survey

The Requests For Information section of the ACIC has been outstanding.’ – Australian Government partner, 2020 Stakeholder Survey

Table 2.16: Stakeholder survey results—Connect 2

 Our information technology projects are of value or great value to their role; Proportion of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed 2019–20 = 89% a change of –5 from 2018–19 = 94%, 2017–18 = 84%.

Connect 3

Table showing Performance criterion for Connect 3—The ACIC is sharing increasing volume, breadth and formats (mediums, platforms) of criminal intelligence and information, police information, and other relevant information. Result–Met.

Achievements

We measure our performance against this criterion by the volume of data we share and make available to our stakeholders. We also record our development of new formats for sharing.

We share our information by:

  • providing systems that our stakeholders can search to find the information they need
  • disseminating intelligence and other information directly to our partners
  • providing public, unclassified information and intelligence.

The results for service provision and usage reported under the Connect 1 performance criterion are relevant to our performance in relation to sharing information and intelligence under this criterion; please see tables 2.9 and 2.10.

Information and intelligence shared

We measure the sharing of information and intelligence by tracking the numbers of products and alerts we have disseminated and the number of requests for information we have completed. This demonstrates the breadth and amount of criminal intelligence and information, police information, and other relevant information that we are producing and providing to our law enforcement partners each year.

We shared criminal information and intelligence with more than 321 national and international law enforcement partners and other stakeholders during 2019–20. Figures 2.9 and 2.10 provide details of how we delivered that information.

Figure 2.9: Analytical and tactical intelligence products disseminated

 The results for 2015–16 have been updated to include previously unreported products. The trendline represents the four-year average.

Figure 2.10: Alerts disseminated and requests for information completed

 (a) The 2018–19 result for alerts disseminated is below the historical average due to a system issue. (b) The 2019–20 result for alerts disseminated is below the historical average due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volume or data accumulated

We include statistics and trends on the volume of data available to our stakeholders as one aspect of our performance in connecting our partners to the information they need to make Australia safer.

Table 2.17 provides details of the numbers of records held in our systems at 30 June 2020. Because the number of records in each system is expected to increase each year, comparisons are made to the previous year only. We have aggregated different categories or types of records where appropriate, to calculate the total number of records held by each system.

Table 2.17: System records held

Service type

System

2018–19

Change

2019–20

Frontline

National Police Reference System

12,070,156

556,787

12,626,943

National Firearms Identification Database

12,972

622

13,594

Australian Ballistic Information Network

83,819

2,312

86,131

Australian Firearms Information Networka

10,904,259

1,459,527

12,363,786

National Vehicles of Interest System

3,834,521

106,863

3,941,384

Biometric and forensic

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System

10,034,465

756,798

10,791,263

National Criminal Investigation DNA Database

1,324,575

120,366

1,444,941

National Missing Persons and Victim System

3,383

163

3,546

Criminal intelligence

Australian Criminal Intelligence Database

5,337,790

249,365

5,587,155

National Target System

15,951

–1,362

14,589

⬆ = Result 5% or more above previous financial year

⬇ = Result 5% or more below previous financial year

↔ = Result within 5% of previous financial year

a Status reports for the Australian Firearms Information Network have been updated to include separate address records. This is reflected in an increase in reported records for 2019–20.

The decline in National Target System records was due to records updates, following the revision of the National Gangs List business rules (as endorsed by National Task Force Morpheus), and quality assurance reviews of OMCG membership data conducted by jurisdictions.

Publicly available information provided

The ACIC released five public reports in 2019–20:

  • The Illicit Drug Data Report 2017–18 was released in August 2019. It is the 16th edition of the report and includes arrest, detection, seizure, purity, profiling and price data.