Telecom executive is new NZ Police ICT manager

Murray Mitchell to lead 248-strong ICT team

Murray Mitchell has been appointed ICT manager of the New Zealand Police, replacing Rohan Mendis who retired in December.

He will lead a 248-person strong IT organisation, according to the just released MIS 100.

New Zealand Police is ranked 16th in the top 100 ICT user organisations in New Zealand, according to MIS 100. Police’s ICT group manages an extensive ICT environment, including one of New Zealand’s largest private networks for voice and data communications.

The organisation has a total of 7300 screens.

Mitchell, who will start his Police role next week, is currently head of application development, maintenance and support with Telecom New Zealand. He has been working in ICT for more than 20 years, in public and private industries including aviation, telecommunications and New Zealand Police at senior levels, a statement released this morning says.

He was also head of resource and business integration at Telecom New Zealand.

At the Police, Mitchell was National Manager of Applications including being the strategist and programme director for the migration of the Law Enforcement System to NZ Police and Justice systems.

Mitchell says he is looking forward to leading Police ICT to deliver the exciting initiatives covered by the group's strategic plan. "This plan was developed in close consultation with the districts and there are many projects Police ICT has in the pipeline which will directly benefit the frontline."

Ian Smith, who was acting ICT manager after Mendis retired in December, outlined the key ICT projects for the Police in 2007 including putting mobile data terminals into 110 police vehicles to enable officers to access the central database, run queries on vehicles and people directly, as well as electronically communicating with dispatchers.

Previously this was all handled over the radio network connecting with the communication centres. Further touch screen units in cars are planned.

Upgrading the ageing Police radio network is also a priority for the next three to six years, says Smith.

“We’re introducing a digital trunk radio network nationwide. This new technology will not only improve the security and reliabiity of Police communications, but will also give more flexibility for special operations.”

The digital network is being progressively rolled out, beginning with specialist groups such as Armed Offenders Squad and Diplomatic Protection.

In the telephony area, VoIP is becoming the standard for Police, with an ongoing nationwide rollout of IP phones to all desks. The changeover provides some immediate benefits for users and provides a launching pad for Police to take advantage of new mobility features later on, such as dual-mode phones and integration of messaging.

Other ICT projects Murray and his team will work on are enhancement of the core Police case management system, an improved knowledge management system and ongoing server virtualisation, with a goal of 80% of Police application servers eventually being virtualised.

With additional reporting from Vikki Bland.

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