E-learning to boost Police 'thick blue line'

Computer-aided system sought

As concern mounts about the quality of Police recruitment and training, the force has gone to market for a computer-aided learning system.

Police staff should be able to study online, selecting courses from a catalogue and the system should also keep track of their progress through each course. Lesson material itself is not directly part of the deal, but potential suppliers have been asked to indicate whether they can source such material.

The tender comes in the wake of media disclosure of an internal report suggesting the standard of knowledge required of Police recruits is falling. That report, written by Senior Sergeant Iain Saunders and obtained by the Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, revealed trainers were having to warn managers about poor performers.

The Dominion Post reported fears among frontline police that the standard of recruits had been compromised to meet the Government’s target of adding 1000 more officers by 2009.

The report’s author warned management that lauding the quality of recruits was innaccurate and misleading and risked significant embarrassment.

The kind of training to be delivered by the e-learning system has yet to be determined, says a Police spokeswoman, “but all Police training suitable for that medium will be considered.”

Proposals are due by mid-July and the system with the system to be implemented by September.

The Police have also asked for information from providers about a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. This favours a single-site national operation to replace the current three-centre system, distributed in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The dispatch system receives emergency calls for Police and Fire services, dispatches staff to reported incidents and “manages resources to cater for reactive, directive and scheduled responses”.

The current dispatch system has also come in for criticism over several years, with allegations of slow or no response to emergency calls. Police have countered with suggestions of shortage of staff and funding.

Some of the public criticisms alleged lack of local knowledge by the CAD operators, after the three regional centres replaced smaller local call dispatch teams.

It now seems likely that the consolidation will proceed further to one national centre. However, no definite decision has been made to replace the current system, the request document says.

“The outcome of this RFI will inform future decisions on replacement and provide a panel of suitable qualified providers should Police continue to [the next stage],” says the document.

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