The National Police Agency (NPA) in Taiwan is charged with the mission of maintaining public order and upholding safety while preventing hazardous situations and promoting the welfare of citizens. To achieve the goals of upholding security in society, preventing crimes, keeping traffic order, and ensuring traffic safety, the police receive advanced education and training. They are also equipped with high-performance equipment and technology to help them maintain a high standard of discipline while fostering positive interactions with the public.
Fast and Accurate Information to Increase Crime-Detection Rates
To effectively adapt to rapid changes in law enforcement and to improve criminal-detection methods, the National Police Agency (NPA) in Taiwan wanted to strengthen the capability of its frontline police force. The NPA also wanted to enhance its mobile device capabilities so that it could be more proactive in addressing law and order initiatives.
NPA thus launched a project called the M-Police Operation System under which the police department introduced a number of advanced mobile technology solutions. Along with new mobile equipment, the solution enables police to rapidly and effectively obtain the latest information. This not only enhances crime detection capabilities and improves criminal apprehension rates but also helps the police force communicate more effectively with citizens.
The M-Police Operation System equips the police workforce with 3G, color-LCD mobile devices that help maintain law and order by giving police the ability to instantly submit queries and reports. The system can be used to perform fugitive queries as well as to search for missing persons, lost ID cards, illegal foreign workers, dropout students or stolen motor vehicles. The devices can also be used to query potential security risks within a predefined population, identify unknown people from other countries, or sift through thousands of criminal records.
Online Information Queries Require Just Seven Seconds
In the past, records of newly-registered cases by city or county police took as long as four hours to propagate throughout the department’s database. The gap between first-time posting and eventual propagation presented a period of risk for businesses and citizens. But today, the real-time query capability provided by the M-Police Operation System now gives frontline police immediate access to the latest information, thereby facilitating interrogations and improving ongoing investigations. Most online query submissions receive responses within seven seconds.
"The M-Police Operation System not only provides fast access to online information, but also can be used to initiate queries when wireless connections are impossible,” says Lee Hsiang-Chen, information director for the National Police Agency. “This ensures that police officers won't be hampered when investigating active cases from any locations and during any time of day or night. Having this capability is critical since the major portion of a police officer's daily routine is spent in the field.”
Sybase Technologies Critical to Mobile Police Solution Success
Sybase technologies play a central role in the success of the M-Police Operation system. Each officer’s mobile device is updated prior to leaving the precinct office with the department’s 400-MB database downloaded and saved onto a Sybase SQL Anywhere micro database installed on each mobile device. SQL Anywhere works effectively even in places where computing resources are restrictive. With a normal 3G connection, SQL Anywhere takes only seconds to respond to queries, but offline queries can be submitted when 3G connections are poor or unavailable.
“Currently, 30,000 police officers share the 8,500 M-Police Mobile System devices,” Hsiang-Chen says. “But we expect the number of devices to soon increase to 11,000 units that could all concurrently need access the database. We are confident that our internal Sybase IQ database will scale efficiently to support the increased usage.”
Mitigating Mobility Risks
Because police officers handle sensitive information, system data must be kept secure whether on the server, on the mobile devices, or in transit. To take on this challenge, NPA relies on Sybase MobiLink advanced synchronization software, which automatically encrypts data on the move and minimizes the download latency that normally occurs when synchronizing with a large database. By transmitting only data that has changed since the previous update, MobiLink significantly reduces synchronization transmission times, which further reduces the chances of data being compromised.
Tracking and managing 11,000 mobile devices also presents a big challenge to the NPA. To ensure that all mobile devices are tracked and accounted for, NPA deployed the Sybase Afaria mobile device management platform. Afaria provides a single administrative console to centrally manage, secure and deploy mobile data, applications and devices. Afaria also helps NPA simplify the management complexities of an on-the-go workforce by ensuring that all data stored and transmitted by mobile devices is secure. Afaria also helps manage and deliver application updates.
To mitigate the potential for device failure, Afaria also performs automatic backups of all devices, and offline mobile device data is uploaded to the county server automatically. The county's system module performs regular uploads to the M-Police Operation System in order to provide follow-up management and workflow reporting, and as part of the upload process, all data is scanned prior to the uploading. To ensure that the central database is not compromised, NPA controls the software delivery process so that subordinate units are required to secure an authorization code from master control to obtain the right task delivery.
Data Warehouse Enables Valuable Analysis
The M-Police Operation system currently handles, on average, 13 million submissions per month with each mobile device processing approximately 800 queries per day. Sifting through such a large amount of queries requires considerable computing capability and a powerful analytical engine. “To meet this need, we chose the Sybase IQ database as the foundation for building a fast and accurate data warehousing system,” Hsiang-Chen says. “We found Sybase IQ to be a highly-optimized analytics server that delivers superior performance for our mission-critical business intelligence needs, and we were able to easily deploy IQ on our existing server and operating system.”
Consistent Performance Assists in the Fight Against Crime
NPA puts the M-Police Operational System through extensive and rigorous authentication tests on an on-going basis to ensure it performs to the specifications for which it was built, which includes a 99.5 percent uptime service level goals. Thanks to all the Sybase technologies, the system has consistently met the requirements.
“Sybase solutions will continue to be central pillars for our mobile communication system, which plays a key role in our fight against crime,” Hsiang-Chen says. “The combination of Sybase mobile, data warehouse and security technologies make it possible to deliver information quickly to our police force in the filed, which puts them in a better position to service and protect citizens.”