For discussion
on 30 March 1998


Hong Kong Police Force
New Subhead "Rectification of Police computer systems for Year 2000 compliance"

    Members are invited to approve a new commitment of $33,143,000 for rectifying the existing computer systems of the Hong Kong Police Force for Year 2000 compliance.


A number of computer systems of the Hong Kong Police Force are not fully Year 2000 (Y2K) compliant. If not rectified in time, this will impair the operation of the department and its service to the public.


2. The Commissioner of Police (CP), in consultation with the Director of Information Technology Services and with the support of the Secretary for Security, proposes a non-recurrent commitment of $33,143,000 to rectify the hardware and software of the computer systems of the Police to ensure Y2K compliance.


3. The Police completed a study in 1997 to assess the implication of the "Year 2000 Problem" on the computer systems currently in use, which consist of 215 system servers, 60 computer applications and about 5 700 microcomputers and workstations. The result indicates that about 170 system servers, 22 computer applications and some 2 000 microcomputers with year manipulation in the systems are not Y2K compliant. These systems were developed and acquired before the Y2K compliance requirement was stipulated in all Government tenders for information technology equipment and services in November 1996. If not rectified in time, activities like the command and control in response to 999 emergency calls, administration of traffic penalty tickets, and management of resources such as quarters and inventory would be affected. Inaccurate information may also lead to flawed management decisions which will hamper law and order operations. As a result, this will impair the daily operation of the Police and in turn their service to the public.

4. To ensure the reliable operation of the Police computer systems in Year 2000 and beyond, we need to -

  1. replace the main circuit boards and/or internal timers of some 2 000 microcomputers;

  2. modify the year manipulation in the programmes of 22 computer applications;

  3. upgrade the operating systems of 170 computer servers to the Y2K compliant version. These servers service 24 major computer systems which support force-wide operations and communication; and

  4. hire a computer system for parallel testing of the Enhanced Command and Control Computer System (ECACCS) after modification. The main function of ECACCS is to provide a comprehensive command and control facility, in conjunction with the beat radio network, to deploy required manpower to scenes of incidents as reported to the Police through the 999 emergency services or in person to police stations/police officers. The system operates round-the-clock throughout the year. As the existing level of services requires the full capacity of the system to cope with, CP requires a separate computer system for testing after modification.

Cost-benefit analysis

5. The proposed rectification work is essential in ensuring the continued effective operation of the various computer systems beyond the Year 2000. The normal cost-benefit analysis is therefore not entirely applicable in this case. However, it should be noted that any computer breakdowns and/or system failures during Police operations and law enforcement could lead to very serious consequences, resulting in enormous social and economic costs.


Non-recurrent costs

6. The CP estimates that the implementation of the proposal will incur a non-recurrent cost of $40,225,000 over a two-year period from 1998-99 to 1999-2000. This comprises $33,143,000 for the acquisition of computer hardware and software and related services and $7,082,000 for the staff cost of the additional in-house staff responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of the project. We set out below details of the cost estimates -

(a) Hardware
(i) Replacement of microcomputers equipment 8,000 2,000 10,000
(ii) Hire of the testing system 1,750 1,750 3,500
(b) Software 2,936 734 3,670
(c) Contract services 10,370 2,590 12,960
(d) Contingency 2,306
Sub-total 25,362 7,781 33,143
(e) In-house staff cost of Police 3,541
Total 28,903

7. As regards paragraph 6(a)(i), the cost of $10 million is for the replacement of the main circuit boards and internal timers of about 2 000 microcomputers.

8. As regards paragraph 6(a)(ii), the cost of $3.5 million is to cover the rental and site preparation charges of renting a computer system for 16 months for parallel testing of the modified ECACCS application software prior to its implementation.

9. As regards paragraph 6(b), the cost of $3.67 million is to cover the cost for upgrading the operating systems of 170 computer servers to the Y2K compliant version.

10. As regards paragraph 6(c), the cost of $12.96 million is for hiring of contract staff and services at Programmer, System Analyst and Project Manager levels for 148, 76 and 11 man-months respectively. These services are employed to supplement the in-house staff mainly in the development, testing and implementation of the modification of the 22 affected computer applications.

11. As regards paragraph 6(d), the cost of $3,013,000 represents a 10% contingency on the cost items set out in paragraph 6(a) to (c).

12. As regards paragraph 6(e), the cost of $7,082,000 represents the staff cost for an in-house project team comprising one Systems Manager, two Analyst/Programmers I and three Analyst/Programmers II for 24 months starting from April 1998 to oversee the planning and implementation of the whole project. CP considers it not possible to deploy existing in-house staff to oversee the planning and implementation work because it would seriously affect the level of maintenance support services for the existing systems and impede the progress of implementation of the Force-wide Information Technology Strategy which is scheduled for completion by September 1999.

Recurrent costs

13. The proposal will not incur any additional recurrent expenditure.

Implementation Plan

14. The CP plans to implement the proposal according to the following schedule -

Activity Target completion date
(a) Equipment procurement and installation for ECACCS testing May 1998
(b) Replacement of the parts of some 2 000 microcomputers May 1999
(c) Upgrading the operating systems for 170 computer servers June 1999
(d) Programme modification, testing and implementation for ECACCS and the other 21 affected computer applications September 1999
(e) Post-1999 monitoring March 2000


15. Most existing computer systems use a two-digit year configuration in order to economise on computer resources such as memory, processing power, storage capacity and data transfer speed. As many computer processes are triggered by data comparisons, problems will arise when performing computations based on dates beyond Year 2000. Components affected include the operating systems which control and manage the operation of the central processing unit and the input/output devices, system utility software which handles the data transfer between devices and sorting of data, application software which defines the manipulation of data according to the business requirements, and other hardware devices such as internal timers.

16. The process of rectifying a non-Y2K compliant system is similar in nature to a system enhancement. It involves application programme modification, upgrading of hardware and software, and possibly data conversion followed by system testing and user acceptance.


Security Bureau
March 1998