‘NCIS has been made available to law enforcement partners to use in active operations for the first time.’
The National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS) aims to securely connect law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share information nationally in a targeted, timely and relevant way.
Sharing key criminal information and intelligence from multiple agencies and systems through a single viewpoint allows law enforcement officers to be better informed about risks, the details of entities, events of interest and the histories of individuals—improving officer safety and critical incident decision-making.
The NCIS Operational Exposure Release occurred in March 2021, making NCIS available to law enforcement partners to use in active operations for the first time. This is the first step in a phased rollout to operational users.
The operational exposure phase of NCIS provides the opportunity for police agencies to evaluate the integrity of the data and use of the system in operational conditions, including testing against agency-specific policies and procedures.
NCIS is being used by a group of more than 250 operational exposure users from police partner agencies and the ACIC, providing much needed access to nationwide policing information. Those participating are able to provide feedback on their experiences and needs when using the system, to improve future capability.
Users can construct complex searches across multiple datasets and receive results returned in a consolidated national view. More than 28,000 searches were conducted on the new system between 9 March and 30 June 2021.
Highlighting the advantages that NCIS can provide to our police partners, a comparison search was carried out for a significant theft case, using both a local system and NCIS. Searching for matches on the local system returned 380 image results, which took substantial time to compare against CCTV footage.
By using key words to narrow down the search, filtered through only the local agency’s own data, NCIS returned just 69 results. The person of interest was matched against the theft suspect within the first 10 results.
The NCIS Program Team is continuing to engage with ACIC operations and all police partner agencies to share their datasets, within lawful constraints, prior to the increased adoption of NCIS by law enforcement users during 2021–22.