18 Jun 2017

Labour calls for audit of police IT projects

9:01 pm on 18 June 2017

The Labour Party wants an external audit of the police force's IT projects, to find out how many are overdue and over-budget.

Labour MP Stuart Nash on the Law and Order select committee.

Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

That comes after police spent millions of dollars on faulty crime-fighting software developed by the now-defunct Wynyard company.

The Christchurch-based company went into voluntary administration last year, and was placed in liquidation earlier this year.

Police chief information officer, Assistant Commisioner Jevon McSkimming, has said they worked closely with administrators and were disappointed obligations were not honoured after they entered into a good faith agreement.

But Labour's police spokesperson, Stuart Nash, said problems with the project should have been dealt with early in its development.

"I really struggle to understand how you end up spending $7.1 million dollars on a system with so many bugs, I can't believe this wasn't red-flagged a lot earlier and these bugs weren't fixed by the developer in conjunction with the police," he said.

"It is an absolute disaster, but worse than that it's cost $7.1 million at a time when we know crime is out of control and police are under-resourced."

The police could not afford to spend millions on software it could not use, he said.

"They've had major problems with their payroll system," he said. "I remember about a year ago having a look through all the police IT projects and there were a number which were over six months overdue."

He said an external audit would help find out what was going on, to understand the extent of the problem.

"We need to understand what the current situation is with all police IT projects," he said.

The Police Association earlier said while the police had been let down by Wynyard's failure to fix the software program, it was flawed in the first place.

"It certainly wasn't the intuitive, state-of-the-art design that police staff were expecting when it was sold to them. It was very hard to use and wasn't really performing the functionality that's required in a large investigation," its president, Chris Cahill, said.