For discussion
on 23 April 1999


Hong Kong Police Force
New Subhead "Office Automation for Hong Kong Police Force"

    Members are invited to approve a new commitment of $179,174,000 for providing office automation facilities to the Hong Kong Police Force.


The absence of an office automation (OA) network system in the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) inhibits effective and efficient communication both within the Force as well as with policy Bureaux, other departments, overseas counterparts and the public.


2. The Commissioner of Police (CP), with the support of the Secretary for Security and the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting and on the advice of the Director of Information Technology Services, proposes to install an OA system in HKPF with a commitment of $179,174,000.


3. In September 1993, the Government initiated a programme to improve the office efficiency and productivity of government offices by introducing OA network systems on a project by project basis across policy Bureaux and departments. In his Policy Address 1997, the Chief Executive has pledged to extend the OA programme to cover the entire Government by December 2000. So far, 22 policy Bureaux and 29 departments have their OA system installed and in operation. The HKPF aims to install its own OA network now.

4. Electronic data transfer has become the present-day mode of office communication. The existing mode of office communication in HKPF is, however, largely confined to conventional paper flow and direct person-to-person contact. The benefit of one-to-many and interactive modes of communication with policy Bureaux and other departments under an OA network system is not available. The present use of Internet service within the Force is very limited and is only provided to around 50 officers. This has restricted effective communication with the public and efficient information exchange with overseas counterparts.

The Proposed OA system

5. Specifically, the proposed OA system in HKPF includes -

  1. installation of Local Area Networks (LANs) in 136 locations covering the Police Headquarters, regions, districts, divisions and offices;

  2. upgrading of 294 existing personal computers and installation of 1 346 additional personal computers to provide a total of 1 640 workstations (with 123 additional servers) for all senior officers at Master Pay Scale Point 45 and above or equivalent, their personal secretaries and heads of functional units such as the general registry, the personnel registry and the accounts section;

  3. access to the Government Communications Network (GCN) through the LANs for electronic mail communication and information exchange/sharing with other policy Bureaux and departments;

  4. access to the Government Common Application System (GCAS) for sharing of data management and retrieval of commonly used information and documents; and

  5. provision of Internet browsing and mail facilities for information search and external communication.

6. The proposed LANs with standard OA facilities will connect the 1 640 workstations to the OA network infrastructure. The network will provide users with software for electronic mail communication, word processing, spreadsheet, database management, graphics presentation and Internet browsing.

Benefits of the proposed OA system

7. The proposed system will bring about the following benefits -

  1. enabling more efficient communication and exchange of information both locally and with overseas, thus facilitating the process of decision making;

  2. improving communication between all Police units and policy Bureaux/departments through connection to the GCN;

  3. allowing more comprehensive, accurate and timely management of information, for example, officers can access commonly used documents such as Government regulations through GCAS;

  4. eliminating repetitive and time consuming manual duplication of records and subsequent distribution of paper; and

  5. facilitating the delivery of information and service to the public in the handling of their enquiries, requests and reports, for example, communication between the public and the Police Public Relations Branch could be enhanced through the use of e-mail.

Cost and benefit analysis

8. While it has generally been accepted that an OA system will improve office efficiency and productivity, it is often not possible to quantify precisely the productivity gain or savings arising directly from such a system. The normal cost and benefit analysis with an estimated pay-back period is not entirely applicable in this case. However, a notional 1% savings in staff costs arising from improved efficiency and productivity gain would amount to about $19.5 million a year. In addition, there will be annual savings of about $229,000 in the consumption of paper in the department. Greater use of information technology will also help the department to attain productivity targets under the Enhanced Productivity Programme.

9. As regards improvement in service to the public, which is a point raised by Members when considering this proposal under item FCR(98-99)83 at the Finance Committee meeting on 12 March 1999, the OA network aims at improving the internal efficiency of the HKPF. It represents one of the essential steps to keep our Police Force modernised so that it can provide quality services to the public.

Interface of the OA system with the Information Technology Strategy (ITS)

10. Of more relevance to the questions raised by Members is the implementation of the ITS scheduled to be completed by September 1999. The ITS, which comprises a total of 26 new computer systems, is of strategic importance in furthering the Police Force's work of maintaining law and order, thereby benefiting the public directly. An OA element was not included in it as the former was a separate Government-wide project.

11. The implementation of the current ITS has enhanced the efficiency of the Police Force by streamlining procedures and facilitating sharing of information. It has brought about improvements in services provided to the public, such as improving success in crime detection through enhancing fingerprint matching process and facilitating fast retrieval of criminal records; releasing more Police officers from office/station duties to front-line operational duties; shortening the processing time for licence applications and traffic accident enquiries and reducing the time for compiling statistics on traffic accidents. The ITS will also save 585 posts amounting to $210 million upon its completion. Up to now, staff savings of 584 posts have been achieved.

12. Following the implementation of ITS, a network infrastructure, i.e. the Police Data Network (PDN), has been established in the Police Force to interconnect the existing and new ITS systems and to enable a single point of access to these strategic systems through the user's desktop workstation. It provides a foundation for the OA network system to be built upon with lower networking and communication costs, ease of management over a common hardware and software platform, and greater reliability to the users. In addition, the integrated environment will also allow the 1 640 OA users to access the information stored in the computer systems of the Police Force much easier.


Non-recurrent cost

13. The estimated total non-recurrent cost of the OA system is $202,601,000, broken down as follows -

(a) Computer hardware and software and network equipment 41,755 41,754 - 83,509
(b) Implementation services 1,190 1,189 - 2,379
(c) Contract staff 13,453 9,171 - 22,624
(d) Site preparation, air conditioning, and power points 23,553 23,552 - 47,105
(e) Data communication lines and cabling 3,300 3,299 - 6,599
(f) Consumables (initial supply) 2,016 2,015 - 4,031
(g) Training to users and system administrators 2,198 2,197 - 4,395
(h) Contingency(5% of items (a) to (g) above) 4,373 4,159 - 8,532
Sub-total 91,838 87,336 - 179,174
Other non-recurrent cost
(i) HKPF staff costs(including on cost) 5,945 9,856 738 16,539
(j) Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) staff costs(including on cost) 4,002 2,827 59 6,888
Sub-total 9,947 12,683 797 23,427
Total 101,785 100,019 797 202,601

We are seeking approval of a commitment of $179,174,000 to cover items (a) to (h).

14. As regards paragraph 13(a), the estimate of $83,509,000 is for the acquisition of hardware for setting up 1 346 additional workstations and upgrading 294 existing personal computers, 123 additional servers, network equipment, peripherals and software. The cost has taken into account the sharing of the network equipment which was provided as part of the existing PDN.

15. As regards paragraph 13(b), the estimate of $2,379,000 is for the installation and customisation of the common applications on the servers and workstations levels, detailed network design and integration of the OA facilities with the existing networks.

16. As regards paragraph 13(c), the estimate of $22,624,000 is for the hiring of 19 contract staff (including three Project Managers (PM), nine System Analysts (SA) and four System Programmers (SP) in HKPF; and three SAs in ITSD providing a total effort of 62, 263 and 72 man-months at the level of PM, SA and SP respectively) to supplement the in-house staff in the coordination, implementation and support of the OA programme.

17. As regards paragraph 13(d), the estimate of $47,105,000 is for site preparation works required for setting up the LANs. These include additional air conditioning and power points, equipment racks, and trunking.

18. As regards paragraph 13(e), the estimate of $6,599,000 is for the installation, cabling, and testing of the data communication lines.

19. As regards paragraph 13(f), the estimate of $4,031,000 is for the acquisition of an initial supply of consumables like tape cartridges for system backup and printer toners etc. for the implementation period.

20. As regards paragraph 13(g), the estimate of $4,395,000 is for the provision of training services to system and end-users in utilising the allocated facilities and software and administration of the network in the initial period.

21. As regards paragraph 13(i), the HKPF will incur non-recurrent staff cost of $16,539,000 for overall project management, user and vendor coordination, quality audit for system and equipment implementation, and technical support during the implementation period. This comprises the efforts of 18 man-months of Senior Systems Manager (SSM), 63 man-months of Systems Manager (SM), 109 man-months of Analyst/Programmer I (AP I) and 48 man-months of Analyst/Programmer II (AP II). In terms of the posts required, this involves seven posts (one SSM, two SMs, three AP Is and one AP II) for 1999-2000, 13 posts (one SSM, three SMs, six AP Is and three AP IIs) for 2000-01, and three posts (one SM, one AP I and one AP II) for 2001-02. We have included sufficient resources in the Police's 1999-2000 Estimates for this purpose.

22. As regards paragraph 13(j), ITSD will incur non-recurrent staff cost of $6,888,000 for coordinating the implementation of the departmental backbone network infrastructure (in supporting HKPF OA system connection to GCN), implementation support for GCAS, and providing assistance in quality audit for HKPF during the implementation period. This comprises the efforts of 39 man-months of SM and 55 man-months of AP I. In terms of the posts required, this involves five posts (two SMs and three AP Is) for 1999-2000, four posts (two SMs and two AP Is) for 2000-01, and one AP I post for 2001-02. We have included sufficient resources in ITSD's 1999-2000 Estimates for this purpose.

Annually recurrent cost

23. The estimated recurrent expenditure for maintaining and supporting the OA facilities is $3,959,000 in 2000-01, rising to $24,624,000 from 2001-02 onwards, broken down as follows -

2001-02 and
(a) System maintenance 3,959 7,918
(b) Data lines rental - 1,799
(c) Consumables - 3,234
(d) HKPF maintenance staff - 11,673

______ _______
Total 3,959 24,624

______ _______

24. As regards paragraph 23(a), the cost of $7,918,000 is for hardware and software maintenance, and on-site support services.

25. As regards paragraph 23(b), the cost of $l,799,000 is for the rental of data communication lines for the OA system.

26. As regards paragraph 23(c), the cost of $3,234,000 is for the acquisition of consumables such as tape cartridges for system backup and printer toners, etc.

27. As regards paragraph 23(d), the staff costs of $11,673,000 is for maintenance staff costs, which consists of both contract staff and in-house staff. Hiring of contract staff will be the main source for system maintenance. The staff costs are mainly for the hiring of ten contract staff (including 11 man-months of PM, five SAs and two SPs in HKPF; and one PM and two man-months of Computer Operator I in ITSD). In respect of in-house staff, CP will require seven additional posts (including one SSM, one SM, one AP I, three AP IIs and one Senior Computer Operator) at an annual staff cost, including on cost, of $5,369,000. CP will keep the number of in-house staff to the minimum and will make wider use of contract staff whenever opportunities arise.

Implementation Plan

28. CP intends to implement the project according to the following schedule -

Activity Duration/Target
completion date
(a) Funding approval and availability Month 0
(b) Hardware and software procurement (basic OA LAN and Secure E-mail) Month 2 - 12
(c) Data-lines installation Month 5 - 15
(d) Site preparation and cable installation Month 3 - 16
(e) Hardware and software installation (basic OA LAN only) Month 5 - 19
(f) 1st production batch roll out Month 11
(g) 2nd production batch roll out Month 14
(h) 3rd production batch roll out Month 17
(i) 4th production batch roll out Month 20
(j) Hardware and software installation (Secure E-mail only) Month 20 - 22
(k) Secure E-mail roll out Month 24

29. As regards 28(i), the 4th production batch roll out in Month 20 refers to the complete roll out of the basic OA LAN. Assuming that funds are available in April 1999, the basic OA system will be completed by end December 2000.


30. We submitted this proposal to the Finance Committee on 12 March 1999. In response to Members' concern, the Administration undertook to brief the LegCo Panel on Security. We briefed the LegCo Panel on Security on details of the proposal on 31 March 1999. The Panel was generally supportive of the proposal. At the Panel meeting, the Administration also responded to queries raised at the last Finance Committee meeting and a summary of the Administration's response is at the Enclosure.


Security Bureau
April 1999

Enclosure to FCR(1999-2000)1

Summary of the Administration's response to Members' queries
raised at the Finance Committee meeting on 12 March 1999

Members' queries Administration's response
(a) Whether improvement in direct services to the public, e.g. the issue of certificates of no criminal conviction (CNCC) and security personnel permits (SPP), could be expedited under the proposed office automation (OA) system. The measures to shorten the processing time of CNCC and SPP are implemented separately. The Police Licensing Office has introduced a number of measures to reduce the processing time of SPP, which include increasing staff support; streamlining administrative and accounting procedures; and improving its computer system. For the issue of CNCC, measures have also been put in place to shorten the processing time, such as the installation of automatic telephone appointment system which assists to shorten the attendance. In addition, it is planned to relocate the CNCC office to the new Arsenal House Phase III to reduce the dispatch time of the fingerprints between the CNCC office and fingerprint section.
(b) Whether the redevelopment of Police Headquarters (PHQ) would cost any loss to the proposed OA system. It is estimated that about $9 million of the site preparation work done under the proposed OA system will be utilised for at least five years until the new PHQ is ready in 2004. Out of the $9 million, it is estimated that at least$1.2 million of the site preparation work could be retained. As the balance will be spent on offices which are currently located outside the PHQ and as it is not known at this stage whether these offices will still be use for other purposes after their relocation to the new PHQ, it is not possible to estimate the loss, if any.
(c) Whether senior officers are ready and competent in utilising computers. The Force is determined to promote an IT culture at all levels. At present, about 300 officers (out of 455 on or above Master Pay Scale Point 45) are computer literate. As part of the proposed OA network, funding will be allocated for the provision of training services to end-users in utilising the computer facilities and software.
(d) Whether there are any measures to avoid the abuse of using Internet. Firewall, password and audit trail will be put in place to control access and monitor the usage.