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Irish Police Computer System Troubles

A court report in the Irish Times gives an insight into the problems on the PULSE computer system used by the Gardai in Ireland to coordinate and record police activities.

According to the report, it takes 90 seconds to log on to the system. That’s a long time. Not only that, but if the user doesn’t remain active on the system, he or she will be automatically logged out after five minutes, and has to go through the whole rigmarole again in order to resume work. To avoid this problem some members of the force took to wedging pieces of paper between the keys on the keyboard, to avoid being automatically logged out. As a result (it appears) users occasionally left machines unattended, and other people began working on these computers, without bothering to log out and log back in again.

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  1. I know a young guard and he says the system is difficult to use, takes ages to log even the simplest details and everyone hates it!

    This was a system designed by PWC (I think) and cost millions. It is a totally proprietry system with a text based interface running over a proprietry communications protocols.

    Why do government award continue to award contracts to jokers like these, when every one knows their “consultants” dont have a clue. If they had awarded this to a small software company they would have developed an internal intranet system which would be easy to use and would work over a VPN on stanard internet protocols.

    PS I also read that they cant upload photographs, which means that in the recent case in donegal, a guard had to wait until he was off duty at home to email a photo of a suspect to the police in donegal from his hotmail account.

  2. I think it was engineered by Accenture. My understanding is that the system is forms-based (i.e., client-server) but I am open to correction.

    To be fair, the way tendering and development of these services is coordinated is very awkward. It can take over five years before a contract for a development is actually awarded. During the intervening time, the technology available and even the requirements can change considerably.

  3. I dont know much about the system myself but i recently heard from a community garda that he and his coleegs also found it hard to adjust to the new system.Does anyone know if PULSE stands for something or is it just the name that is given?