B.C. police to use IBM to sort out multiple aliases

The organization that manages all the police records in British Columbia is planning to roll out specialized IBM software to create better profiles of the suspects, victims and witnesses in their database.

The Police Records Information Management Environment for B.C. (PRIME-BC) software works as a combined police records and computer dispatch system servicing over 9,600 officers throughout the province. The system basically works like a co-op where all of B.C.’s police agencies pay a user fee to have access to a fully integrated database of the witnesses, complainants, victims and suspects that interact with the police.

“Anytime somebody has contact with the policy, they are entered into the system, just like they used to be entered into paper records,” said Russell Sanderson, general manager at PRIMECorp.

But while this system has made life for the average police officer much easier, the database also has its side effects. Sanderson said that there are more names were contained in the PRIME-BC system than citizens in the province.

“People lie to the police and have various forms of identification,” he said. “One day Russ Sanderson could be entered into the computer and the next time that person will be entered in again as Russell Sanderson.”

To deal with this severe problem and help sort out the identities of suspects and witnesses that use multiple aliases, PRIME-BC decided to integrate its police records management system with IBM’s “entity analytics” technology.

The IBM software will bring together data from traffic stops, 911 emergency calls, witness interviews and criminal investigations to build a aggregated profile for every individual in the database. The software will also be used to better determine the potential relationships among criminals and gang members.

“They’ll now see a consolidated dossier, so instead of seeing an individual that might be a minor offender, they might now be looking at somebody that is a prolific offender,” said Paul McCullough, a public safety executive with IBM Canada.

IBM added it has already worked with police organizations in Edmonton, New York and a variety of European cities to perfect the software.

Currently, PRIMECorp has committed to using the software and are in the testing stage. Sanderson expects the IBM-optimized database will be fully up and running by next summer.

In the early stages, Sanderson said, PRIMECorp is letting the IBM software identify potential aliases and criminal relationships and then manually approving each change before making them live. The goal, however, is to roll out a database that is fully automated and up-to-date when police officers access PRIME-BC in the field.

The system will be available via more than 2,000 mobile units in patrol cars across the province.

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