SA police e-docket project lagging

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There is less than a year to go before the expected deadline for the full implementation of the police’s e-docket system, but less than 20% of SA’s police stations have access to the system.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa delivered his budget speech last week, with a fleeting mention of the project that began in 2008. Along with the national photo identification system and the fingerprint enrolment system, the e-docket solution forms part of the Integrated Justice System, ITWeb reports.

The three systems combined are supposed to link the police, the National Prosecuting Authority and SA’s courts to allow a free flow of information between the institutions. The e-docket system was supposed to have been fully implemented by next year; however, Mthethwa says only 193 of 1 116 police stations have had the system implemented after two years.

Mthethwa says more than 260 000 dockets have been scanned and finalised to date. “Within the criminal justice system review there is now a process that has been developed to speed up the roll-out of the e-docket system to all stations across the country,” he says.

The SAPS e-docket solution entails the capturing, either though typing or scanning, of physical dockets into a national digital database. Government has been punting the new system as a means to combat the high rate of crime in SA, and the project’s IT requirements are being handled by the State IT Agency. In 2008, the police had rolled out the e-docket solution at 60 stations.

Democratic Alliance (DA) police shadow minister Dianne Kohler Barnard says the party has been calling for clarification of the system for four years. She says it is good to see the project still continuing, and the party has plans to get further clarity during the parliamentary portfolio committee meeting this week.

According to the figures released in answer to parliamentary questions posed by the DA, the police have lost an alarming number of dockets over the last few years. In the 2007/8 financial year, around 427 dockets went missing from police stations across SA.

This figure increased by 57% in the 2008/9 year, to 671 missing or stolen dockets. Barnard has also requested the procurement figures from the department, revealing that SAPS bought 947 scanners for the project during the last financial year.