LCQ5: Police's Third Generation Command and Control Communications System
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Following is a reply by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, to a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him in the Legislative Council today (November 28):
The Police's Third Generation Command and Control Communications System (CC3) broke down in the morning of October 24, 2012, during which some consoles of the Hong Kong Island Regional Command and Control Centre could not communicate with frontline police officers through CC3, and could only maintain communication with them using the Force Mobile Radio Telephone.CC3 resumed normal only after 17 hours at 4am the following day.The Police have ruled out the possibility of man-made sabotage or hacker intrusion causing damages to CC3.In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the direction along which the Police are currently investigating the causes of the aforesaid failure, as well as the impact of the failure on the work of frontline police officers;
(b) of the number of cases of system failure (including all incidents) of CC3 that have occurred so far since its coming into operation at the end of 2004, as well as the causes of the failure; and
(c) whether the Police have conducted regular reviews on the effectiveness and security issues, etc ., of CC3; if they have, of the frequency of such reviews; if not, the reasons for that?
The Police's Third Generation Command and Control Communications System (CC III) came into operation by phases since December 2004.The system was fully implemented in March 2006 with the objectives of increasing the operational efficiency of the Force so that more effective manpower deployment and resource utilisation can be achieved, and enhancing the security of the communications system and internal transmission of information.
The Administration's reply to the Member's question is as follows:
(a) & (b) Regular repair and maintenance of the CC III has been conducted since its operation in 2004.A serious failure of the CC III occurred on October 24, 2012 at about 11.05am, in which the radio communications between various consoles of Regional Command and Control Centres and some front-line officers were affected.
The Police's Information Systems Wing (ISW) and the system provider have conducted an in-depth investigation into the failure on the day in question, and carried out a number of simulation tests on the system.It has been ascertained that the failure was not related to hacker intrusion or system ageing.There was a software problem during system extension which led to system instability.
The failure was due to the Police's extension of the CC III to the Airport District where the system had not been adopted.Since most of the police districts had moved to the CC III, the Police had to undertake system extension to enhance cross-district radio communications for officers of Airport District.On the day in question, there were irregularities due to some software problem when CC III's radio coverage was extended to the Airport District, leading to a malfunction of the radio cell sites connected to the main server of the Hong Kong Island (HKI) communications system zone.Given that the main server of HKI zone is linked to some cell sites in Kowloon and New Territories zones, the radio coverage of the latter two zones was also slightly affected.
The failure in question only affected the radio communications between some front-line officers and the regional console.The ISW and the system provider undertook emergency repair at once and carried out some improvement measures.Affected front-line officers immediately switched to the Force Mobile Radio Telephone to maintain communications with the regional console.The failure did not affect the emergency and non-emergency services provided by various police regions to the public.During the period of system failure, a total of 179 emergency calls were received and processed by the Force and officers all arrived at the scenes within the pledged response time.
The Police are reviewing the current procedures of system alteration or extension with the system provider.To avoid similar failures, certain improvement measures have been adopted, such as multiple reviews of system alteration or extension plans and procedures, examination of further strengthening of system fallback, and study of recovery methods against different failure scenarios.In-depth reviews are still underway to ensure that all system alterations will not be affected in the future.
(c) The Police and the system provider conduct monthly system testing and review system operations every month to ensure that the system is in good conditions and to guard against serious failures.Furthermore, the Police and the system provider will, prior to any major activities or important events, assess whether the system can cope with the additional operational needs arising from such activities or events and make appropriate system resource deployment, such as strengthening the radio coverage at locations with high usage rate and increase the capacity of communications channels.
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