IT Section

The Data Processing Branch or better ‘Computer Centre ‘Francis Rivalora’, named after the first Commissioner of Police,  was officially opened on the 7th January 1989 by his Excellency Prof. Guido de Marco, which at that time was serving as Minister for Home Affairs.
For that time the project was very ambitious, when one considers that within the country there was only one other computer centre for the government situated at Ta’ Swatar. The Data Processing Branch hosted Immigration and public electoral registry for the use of the Police. From that one small team of technicians, today the I.T. Section has grown to host several smaller teams, that interact with each other in order to be more flexible into executing and implementing computer information systems, which include; the Administration, ICT Office, Network Operations Centre (First line of support); ICT Support Staff (second line of support); Technical Lab officers; Networks Office; Procurement Officer and System Administrator/Lecturer.
Being up-to-date with the fast changing world of technology is vital for any Police Force. Since 1989 the I.T. Section within the Police Force has made drastic changes and improvements.  One may say that it was the main precursor for a culture change that took place and is still on going to shift from paper based systems towards a computer based system for collecting information.
Probably one of the most important information system which was introduced, is the Police Incident Reporting System (PIRS), in which it caters for the collection of all police reports filed at Police Districts and Stations throughout Malta and Gozo. This system enables all Police Stations and the Police Headquarters to be interlinked together for information sharing and rapid communications. The system was introduced as early as 1st April 1997. Since then it has grown and was superseded by PIRS II during Year 2007, which incorporate latest technologies for better communication and information sharing. Up to date there are 41 connected Police Stations on the Police Network Infrastructure catering for 1,800 officers throughout the Force. This number is likely to increase according to the demographic situations that shift continuously as people take residence in lesser populated areas. Obviously, the Police General Headquarters and other satellite offices or departments, such as the Police Academy and Ta’ Kandja complex, that the Police make use of, run on the same computer network infrastructure.
Other important systems, to mention that were introduced are: the Weapons Administration System, which caters for all registered weapons and firearms; Fleet Management System, for controlling the fleet of vehicles the department make use of; Human Resources system, which takes care of police profiles within the administration department and the Online Reporting System (OPRES), were the general public can lodge a report via the Malta Police website.
Another important aspect of this unit is the distribution of technology throughout the Police Force.  A long way has come from ‘dumb’ terminals to the distribution of Computer systems. Nowadays the Police make use of more than 900 computers and the number is on the increase as additional systems are introduced or new offices opened. The replacement, maintenance and upgrade of these computers are all carried by trained Police personnel who are stationed within the unit. This guarantees one of the most important aspects for the Police: Security and rapid response when and where needed.
The I.T. Section has a compliment of one Police Inspector, Two Police Sergeants and 19 Police Officers, which are composed of small teams that interact with each other in order to be more flexible into executing and implementing computer systems. These include; Management,  ICT Office, Network Operations Centre (First line of support), ICT Support Staff (second line of support), Technical Lab, Networks Office, Procurement, Security Officer and Trainers.
It is to be noted that the ICT Unit through the Malta Police sponsor and train students from MCAST on a sponsorship contract for the duration of the course.
With the introduction of Malta into the European Union (EU), the workload for this unit has drastically grown and attained a more strategic character when Malta joined the Schengen Zone during 2007. Workload is envisaged to grow with the introduction of new systems which are being introduced through the European Union.  This shall affect the strength and the type of structure that this unit has.
Within the first four years of Malta as a Member State (2004), this unit implemented various information systems that are used to exchange information with all the other Member States.  Some of the systems include;
     EuroDac System : which is used to exchange fingerprints of irregular immigrants for cross examination.
     DubliNet : a system used to exchange information for people claiming Asylum Status.
     False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO): an on line system to cross check forged/authentic travelling documents with all other member states.
     PISCES : a border control system which is used throughout all the Maltese ports.
Apart multilateral systems that operate across the entire EU, the unit has under its responsibility bilateral systems that are used from one country to another, according to agreements that have been reached between either countries.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that the unit did undergo was an audit conducted during September, 2007 by delegates coming all over from Europe to evaluate systems and mechanisms put in place to conform to the Schengen Acquis in order for Malta to be able to join the Schengen Zone. The result was very positive, considering the limitations and tight timeframes that were at its disposition. Such an evaluation will repeat itself during the first week of September 2013.
Within the Schengen Zone the I.T. Section incorporated a special unit that takes care of all the information, traffic of data and equipment that host the Schengen Information System. This unit, namely the Nation Schengen Information System Unit (NSIS), has this vital role for the country. With the continuous introduction of additional systems that stem from the EU , this unit is likely to grow in its size and strategic position to serve as a medium between the EU and the Malta Police and other departments that are connected through its secure links.
A far more recent challenge that the unit had to face is the auditing by the European Data Protection Evaluation, which occurred during the first quarter 2012.  The evaluation assures that all information being handled by the department is kept in a secure environment according to European Standards and that all safeguards are in place to protect the information related to European citizens by authorized access or that such information is not kept more than retention periods permits as established by the European Union and domestic laws.
During the first quarter of 2013, the IT Section played a strategic role for the implementation, evaluation and acceptance of systems that are related to the PRUM Treaty, such as Fingerprint information exchange and DNA information exchange.  Both systems are operated and managed by Forensic Department, but hosted and maintained by the IT Unit and its subcontractors.
One also need to add that members of the IT Unit have been nominated by the Commissioner of Police to be part of the newly set up of the European IT Agency, which cater for all European Systems. Members of the IT Unit represent Malta at both the Advisory Board and Management Board of the EU IT Agency.
As one can deduct the main assets and core components of the unit, are the Police Officers themselves. Through their years of experience and through their perseverance and continuous dedication in learning and keeping up to date with new technologies, have continually sought to introduce new information and communication systems and change through business re-engineering in areas of the Police Department to be more flexible, whilst retaining the efficiency and effectiveness which the Malta Police have always sought to have throughout all its long history of existence.
 Indirizz tal-Kuntatt  
Pjazza San Kalċidonju
Floriana FRN 1530
2122 4001