Bad UX: Get Away Free or Be Labeled a Terrorist

In case you needed a new argument for the importance of good user experience, police in Queensland, Australia, are making fewer arrests because their records management system has become too difficult and time consuming to use.

FRUSTRATED Queensland police are turning a blind eye to crime to avoid time-consuming data entry on the force’s new $100 million computer system.
“They are reluctant to make arrests and they’re showing a lot more discretion in the arrests they make because QPRIME is so convoluted to navigate,” Mr Leavers said. He said minor street offences, some traffic offences and minor property matters were going unchallenged, but not serious offences.
“There was an occasion where two people were arrested on multiple charges. It took six detectives more than six hours to enter the details into QPRIME,” he said. “It would have taken even longer to do the summary to go to court the next morning, so basically the suspects were released on bail, rather than kept in custody.”

In the other direction, The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists in 2005 and 2006, in part because “the software offered limited options for classifying entries.”

If you’re thinking of turning to a life of crime or activism, you might want to research the relevant law enforcement systems’ usability and taxonomies first.

Thanks to Bruce Schneier twice via Dorian Taylor.

2 replies
  1. Matthew
    Matthew says:

    On the IAI-members distribution list. Back in January. Guess I could have mentioned that.

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