Canadian police hit by major computer network outage
‘It’s like flying blind,’ 1 frontline RCMP officer said about computer outage
By Alison Crawford, CBC News, Jan 19, 2017
The failure of a critical core computer network device prevented Mounties and other police agencies including the Toronto Police Service from accessing a critical computer program they need to do their jobs called the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
According to sources, the outage started around midnight ET, and lasted roughly 12 hours. It also affected mobile computer workstations in RCMP police cruisers and two other crucial internal RCMP databases.
CBC News agreed not to report on this major computer network failure until it was over, so the public would not be aware that front line police were at a disadvantage.
“Shared Services Canada responded to the failure of a critical core network device that is impacting many RCMP systems,” wrote France Bertrand, director of the RCMP’s IT operations branch, in the first of two force-wide emails sent this morning.
“As a result of network issues, CPIC is unavailable for the majority of sites and CPIC messaging is unavailable for all sites,” said Jason Sohm, another RCMP director in a second force-wide email.
CPIC is a crucial tool for all police officers and border guards, not just the RCMP. It allows them to check names for criminal records and warrants, receive warnings, search license plates and it also provides frontline police with criminal histories and warnings.
One officer told CBC News that working Wednesday night was “like flying blind.”
Another said it was a “huge officer safety risk.”
No one from Shared Services Canada or the RCMP responded to CBC’s requests for more information.
On Wednesday, CBC News reported on how the RCMP has been plagued with IT issues since Shared Services Canada took over its tech support.