The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is creating a national criminal database drawing together information from more than 1,000 different systems, to give police real-time access to interstate intelligence.

By Laura Gartry (for ABC News)

Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has a crucial for combating terrorism, the ice trade and cyber crime, by creating a national criminal database drawing together information from more than 1,000 different systems, to give police real-time access to interstate intelligence.

ACC chief executive Chris Dawson told the police union conference in Perth, intelligence was the key to fighting crime and sharing it across borders was essential.

At the moment there are more than 1,000 different databases and despite some sharing, police in one state may have limited access to information stored in another.

“There can be greater opportunities to exploit the datasets together so that when a police officer is either stopping a person, speaking to an individual, receiving information, executing a search warrant … they will know with the best possible foreknowledge of who they are dealing with and who they are connected to,” Mr Dawson said.

Mr Dawson said real-time access to that information was now critical to tackle complex crime.

“The information that might sit with different stove pipes or different datasets can be melded together, and it can, the information technology is available. What we have to do is join the pipes together,” he said.

Earlier this month it was announced the ACC would merge with Crimtrac, the national police information service, to create the first national criminal data intelligence system.

The aim now is to ensure every piece of information from names to licence plates, gathered by law enforcement agencies is put into one overarching online portal for all officers to access.

“A flag should come up and go danger, there is a red flag here,” Mr Dawson said.

“You may not necessarily be authorised to know exactly why … but you’ll know you need to contact the appropriate agency.”

Associate law Professor Guy Hall, a criminologist at Murdoch University said the system was long overdue.

But Professor Hall is sceptical about its implementation and cost.

“That is just an incredibly expensive job. So while it might be overdue, it is a very difficult and expensive job. Good luck to them,” he said.

Mr Dawson said he expected it would take two years just to build the foundations of the system and even longer to complete it.

“I think that the end date is going to be an enduring one and I say that because the technology changes and it changes very rapidly and very often,” he said.

“We’ve got a two-year plan at this stage to build the foundations for a national criminal intelligence system.”

Mr Dawson said the ACC would work with the other law enforcement agencies to ensure the system was developed in concert with one another and not independently.

This news was originally published in ABC.