Victoria Police was responsible for the overall security and smooth running of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Maintaining a safe and secure environment for such a high-profile event presents significant challenges, as threats can emerge with little or no warning. Victoria Police required a robust incident management system that could monitor this high-risk 11-day event that involved 38 venues. Victoria Police worked with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Compliance Experts to develop Compliance Checkpoint, a Web-based incident management application written using ASP.NET. The application integrated easily with Victoria Police’s existing servers and worked with familiar technologies including Microsoft® SQL Server 2000, Microsoft®Windows Server® 2003 and Microsoft® Internet Information Services. The Compliance Checkpoint solution provided Victoria Police with 100 percent visibility of operations and real-time information for faster responses. High-quality reporting features increased the speed of decision making.
Victoria Police provides a 24-hour police service to 5 million Victorians. It contributes to a high quality of life for individuals in the community by ensuring a safe and secure society to underpin the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of Victoria. Employing more than 13,600 people, Victoria Police is made up of police, public servants and protective security officers.
Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Games from 15 to 26 March 2006. It was the largest sporting event held in the city since the 1956 Summer Olympics. Victoria Police were responsible for all security arrangements at the Games.
With 4,500 athletes and 90,000 visitors from 71 countries about to descend on Melbourne, Victoria Police needed an efficient, transparent and robust incident management system to cope with a wide range of potential security situations. The system would be responsible for overseeing 247 events at 13 sites in Melbourne and five regional locations in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Lysterfield Park and Traralgon. The police also had to manage the Athletes’ Village, the Melbourne central business district and various cultural events.
“We had a total of 38 venues to manage,” says Chris Storen, Manager IT Working Group, Victoria Police. “When you have an event like the Commonwealth Games, it is not just day-to-day calls and responses. While our current communications and computer-aided dispatch systems efficiently manage calls for police services, the Games created a specific need to report and manage incidents in more detail at a very localized level.”
“We had to manage traffic flowing through Melbourne and keep track of all the roads leading to and from events. For example, if something happened at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, within five minutes traffic could bank back around any of the other venues and affect them. The police needed to have an overall view of everything that was happening in specific Games precincts.”
Prior to the Games, Victoria Police used a Microsoft® Office Excel® spreadsheet to monitor incidents at event venues.
Police officers would record incidents on their laptops, which were not connected to the network. This meant they could only correlate and consolidate data for reports at the end of the day.
“The Office Excel spreadsheet lacked the real-time functionality we needed,” says Storen. “We wanted to see events occurring as they unfolded and the system did not allow us to do that.
“From a management point of view, the current system wasn’t up for the job. Avoiding any security threats was high on the agenda at the Commonwealth Games and we needed to be more responsive.”
Victoria Police contacted Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Compliance Experts in December 2005. Compliance Experts developed an application for Victoria Police called Compliance Checkpoint, which addressed the need for a centralized reporting and control system covering the geographically dispersed Commonwealth Games venues.
Compliance Experts developed Compliance Checkpoint using ASP.NET, a framework for building dynamic Web applications that allow live data from back-end systems to be accessed using a Web browser. All the data for Compliance Checkpoint was stored in a Microsoft® SQL Server 2000 database and could be accessed using Microsoft®Internet Explorer®.
Three Compliance Experts staff worked on the project to build and test the application. Once the application was built, Compliance Experts ran a series of scenario workshops with Victoria Police, and the modifications recommended as a result of these sessions were quickly implemented. Once the modifications were finalized, installation took only four days. The implementation was completed in February 2006, a month before the opening of the Games.
For the duration of the Games, police officers used Compliance Checkpoint while on rotation at 38 venues. They would feed back any incidents to the operations room at Melbourne’s World Trade Centre, which was also the Games organizing committee headquarters. The live data from Compliance Checkpoint was projected continuously onto a wall in the operations room for all to see.
“The application refreshed automatically every 60 seconds with the latest information that had been fed through from all the venues,” says Paul Molenaar, Director of Compliance Experts.
“Police Command could watch events unfold and look into the detail of any incident as it occurred. They could then deploy appropriate responses immediately.”
Cost-effective Incident Management Solution
The decision to use Microsoft technology made good economic sense.
“Victoria Police considered the use of existing emergency services dispatch systems and their Law Enforcement Assistance Program database for this application, but both would have been more expensive and too inflexible to meet their needs,” says Molenaar.
The new reporting and control solution allowed Victoria Police to utilize standard components it was already using from the Microsoft Windows Server System, such as Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003.
“Being able to re-use what we had was a big bonus,” says Storen. “We already knew these products worked and we could apply Compliance Checkpoint to our servers with no issues.
Officers in the field could use a standard internet browser to access live data and update it. The integration between the ASP.NET framework, Microsoft server software and Compliance Checkpoint itself meant that the whole thing could be bundled tightly together at little expense.”
Improved Statistics and Live Incident Data
With the help of Compliance Checkpoint, Victoria Police achieved a significant improvement in the logging and centralized management of incidents at the Commonwealth Games. This in turn reduced costs and increased operational effectiveness and security.
“The solution allowed us to create reports from the live data so we could accurately brief the Commissioner of Police on the status of all relevant incidents,” says Storen.
“It gave us a summary of statistics for each venue at the end of every shift. We could provide management with solid statistics like never before. The ability to see incidents quickly meant everyone was looking at the same thing. This allowed us to make faster and more accurate decisions.”
100 Percent Visibility of Operations
The application allowed Victoria Police to manage resources and analyze incidents from the central headquarters.
“Compliance Checkpoint gave us the visibility to coordinate this huge event by giving us a consolidated view of all incidents,” says Storen.
The traffic police especially appreciated the bird’s-eye overview they gained of Melbourne’s roads.
“Traffic commanders could go down to forward command posts, talk to their colleagues and then log in to any laptop,” says Storen. “They could see traffic status wherever they went, as long as they had a browser and network access. This enabled us to solve problems like traffic bottlenecks much faster.”
Following the success of Compliance Checkpoint at the Commonwealth Games, the application was used to manage and report incidents at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, also held in Melbourne.
“The knowledge we gained using Compliance Checkpoint at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be useful for incident management at a national level,” says Storen. “In the long term, it will add value to the national framework for improved homeland security. It also has the potential to be used for counter-terrorism operations and emergency services deployment during natural disasters such as floods or bushfires.”
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