An Garda Síochána is to spend €13.5m on the introduction of a new electronic dispatch system for the receipt of calls from the public.
The force has commissioned a contract for the provision of a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and communications platform on a national basis.
The gardaí’s current system for dealing with calls from the public has been in place since 1989, its age being one of the chief reasons the upgrade is deemed necessary.
Other factors include the need to provide computerised call logging, the need to link the system with the Garda PULSE system and other IT systems used by the force, and the need for better integration with other emergency services.
Tenders for the new system will be expected to lodge their applications from December 20, with the date for execution of the contract yet to be confirmed.
CAD is a method for dispatching field personnel as assisted by a computer, with the central premise being that control room dispatchers are able to view the location and status of all units under their aegis in real time.
Gardaí say the new system will aid in “improving efficiency” in public service by enabling better real-time decisions with more effective and prompt responses, while simultaneously improving safety conditions for officers given that information from PULSE will be available from the initial logging of a call.
“From this initial contact, An Garda Síochána will, in the future, strive to deliver the best possible experience to all parties to that contact whether that be a serious criminal incident, a public safety engagement or a general query for information,” a pre-qualification questionnaire for applicants states.
The implementation of a new system has been a project long in gestation as part of the most recent An Garda Síochána modernisation and renewal programme 2016-2021, previously described by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan as the “most ambitious programme of reform ever embarked on by the organisation”.
Previously the Irish Examiner reported that Garda overheads for specific policing projects, such as the €12m visit of US President Donald Trump to Ireland last June, had negatively impacted certain ICT projects.
That resulted from a refusal by the Department of Justice to countenance a stretching of the Garda budget for such ad hoc projects. However it’s not believed that the new CAD system has been impacted by this.
The new Computer Aided Dispatch is expected to align itself with the new Garda jurisdiction boundaries revealed by Commissioner Drew Harris in August, which sees the 28 divisions previously employed by the force reduced to 19.