High tech war room to deal with unrest in SA

A new police tender to build what the service is calling a “War Room” plans to cope with increased unrest in SA.

In the tender documents provided by the police service, the centre will be created to deal with what it is calling priority incidents, including unrest and disaster.

The high tech War Room will feature dozens of screens feeding live video into an operations zone, where top police officers will be able to co-ordinate reaction to what are referred to as “incidents”, with live video feeds from police stations, mobile squads and even helicopters.

The police tender document is a brief for a long list of technology needs, with a strong emphasis on dealing with civil unrest.

That is as service delivery strikes and protests continue throughout SA and uprisings shake parts of the developing world – mainly in the Middle East.

“Direct feeds should be obtained from teams for example SAPS TV / Video, general TV channel, feeds from SAPS Airwing which normally cover scenes of unrest and violence; GIS and Navigation support and information, weather information, road analysis information, Mobile Command Centres (MCC),” according to a military note.

Crime Intelligence falls way down a the list of important requirements for the operation room.

The documentation linked to the latest police tender includes what’s being called a Mobilization Centre.

“The War Room Mobilization Centre needs to have direct interfaces or control authority over specific resources at the disposal of the SAPS, internal as well as external to the SAPS domain to manage disruptions, incidents, issues and trends. To this end it is foreseen that from a strategic, tactical and operational context, the War Room’s Mobilization Centre will have superseding authority to mobilise various SAPS and other participating role players’ resources.”

The document continually refers to “disruptions” and the new high tech attempt at dealing with these.

The War Room will also feature an executive decision making sector.

“On a decision making level, which is the primary aim of the War Room Executive Decision Centre, there is a critical dependency on timely and accurate information to inform the decision makers on all levels of all statuses with regard to disruptions, incidents, issues and trends,” it says.

“The War Room’s Executive Decision Centre need fast and reliable access to all related information to specific disruptions / incidents / issues / trends / missions / projects / tasks that are being planned or in operation.

The definition of the War Room includes supporting structures which can feed information to what the document refers to as “Executives” in order for them to make strategic, tactical and operation decisions.

The building will be a centralized command centre, via various centres, including information, analysis, resource, command, mobilization and executive decision making.

It will be staffed by computer operators working with SAPS staff and will feature networked servers linking various police stations through both video and data, and gather intelligence on events in SA.

Electronic tools include synchronous conferencing, asynchronous conferencing, e-mail, faxing, Wikis, web publishing, revision control and voice and communication systems.
http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=142026

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