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LEAP to Link falls short by millions

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A failed IT systems project looks like it might stall the career of the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (via AAP), police minister Peter Ryan has expressed only “muted support” for the commissioner following the debacle.

The force has estimated that the task of replacing its “LEAP” database could blow out by as much as $100 million beyond what’s already been spent. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday night (April 20) that $45 has already been spent on the project.

Victoria’s government finally dumped the project, which has been blamed for failing to identify people who have breached terms of their parole, and has been associated with six killings.

The expensive database was supposed to provide a “one stop shop” linking histories of offenders and cases. It has proven expensive and difficult to transfer records from the “Law Enforcement Assistance Program” (LEAP) system to the new environment.

In light of the failure of LEAP to carry out its basic function of tracking offenders, Privacy Victoria’s demand that LEAP’s replacement should protect the privacy of those appearing in the database now looks hilarious – especially given that Privacy Victoria’s statement was made in 2005. Six years and millions of failed project later, LEAP has protected privacy all too well, although through incompetence rather than by design.

According to the ABC, Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe has said LEAP’s original business case is at fault, because it didn’t “consider the entirety of the work that needed to be done.”

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland agreed, and said Victoria Police won’t return to the government until it can present a viable business case.

The system was being put together by Canadian company Niche Technology.

Problems with the system were reported last year, when the rollout was delayed for “six month” because of the cost of the project.

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