UK Police systems should be open source to ensure interoperability

The UK’s emergency systems should be based on open source, to help ensure interoperability, the British IT news service ZDNet reports last week Tuesday quotes Ian Readhead, director of Information of ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers.


  Speaking at a IT security event, Readhead explained the police uses a mix of proprietary and open source systems. The police database runs on both proprietary and GNU/Linux based systems and its communication systems are using several proprietary systems.

These systems will increasingly converge, Readhead predicts. “Convergence is not about being with one supplier, but about building systems in such a way to move data seamlessly, without sacrificing privacy or security”, ZDNet quoted the ACPO Information Director.

The ACPO did not respond to requests for details.

In many European countries police forces are moving to open source. The French Gendarmerie for instance has moved some 90,000 PCs to the GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu, and their colleagues at the Police Nationale are migrating to the open source office suite OpenOffice. In Sweden, the police are employing the open source database MySQL, the Java application server Jboss, webserver Apache and Suse GNU/Linux. In Portugal, the police last year started using a traffic fine management system built with open source components.

However, this does not mean all police forces are considering open source. One example of the opposite would be the Dutch police. This February the police force put out a tender for 30,000 Windows terminals, a contract worth 50 million euro. With its request, the police is breaking procurement rules, that do not allow asking for specific brands. Parliamentary questions on this procurement have not yet been answered.


More information : 

ZDNet news item (in German)