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This year, the Slovenian Police marks the 50th anniversary of the use of information technology and telecommunications. On this opportunity, a ceremony was organised at the Brdo Congress Centre on 2 July 2008, entitled From Mechanographical Data Processing to Schengen.

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The beginnings of information technology in Slovenian police go back to the 1950's when the then militia launched mechanographical data processing continuing with the automatic and computer processing and later with fast and ambitious development of the modern information and telecommunication system of the police (ITSP). It played a very important role in Slovenia's struggle for independence, while its latest achievement is the integration in the Schengen information system.

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Throughout the period, our way of organising and offering information and telecommunication services placed us in the top position not only in Slovenia but in the international framework. Thus we provided the necessary, efficient and quality support to the operative part of the Slovenian police, which is further confirmed by international integrations of the information and telecommunication system.

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The speaker of honour, Director General of the Police Jože Romšek, seized the opportunity to say: "I worked as a police officer myself and I clearly remember the times when dispatches, different reports, records on inspection and criminal charges were first handwritten and then retyped on typewriters. All important documents were carried in bags and it took plenty of time and ingenuity before a piece of information was transferred from the issuer to the receiver. Back then nobody could imagine how big information and technological changes lie ahead of the Slovenian police, then militia. In fifty years an almost unbelievable leap was made from the typewriters and mechanographic machines and manual list keeping by punching cards, then the peak of technological progress, to the digital era. /.../

Work in the modern police without the latest technological solutions and a branched communication network is practically impossible. Nowadays the police officers would be powerless without radio connections, computers and web technology, not to mention all other systems, equipment and devices enabling the daily performance of their police tasks. As an important tool in communication with the public and the improvement of the public image of the police, I must especially stress the police website through which we additionally develop partner relations with citizens and institutions. It played an important part in Slovenia's struggle for independence. /.../

Since then the police information technology, along with telecommunications, has been updated and upgraded from year to year. The latest achievements of the police IT system include the integration in the Schengen information system, which brought the upgrade, new solutions and updating of IT infrastructure. The results of the implementation of the new information technology support in fighting illegal migration and cross border crime were soon visible."

During the ten months of use of the common electronic database, over 16 million persons, documents and vehicles have been examined at the external border in Slovenia, and over six thousand cases of missing persons and objects have been completed!

Romšek added that a lot of important work of the office often goes unnoticed; however, it is one of the factors making Slovenian police a good and efficient system.

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All gathered were greeted also by Andrej Bračko, M. Sc., director of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Office, who said that he was honoured to have taken over the Office in such an important period as the last six months. He said that "the integration in the Schengen information system involved a thorough updating of the information and telecommunication system of the Slovenian police and the introduction of numerous new solutions. Thus the period until 2000 is marked by an intense construction of local computer networks, a complete renewal of the communication network and the telephone system and the transition from the analogue to the digital radio system. In this period a new, modern reserve computer centre was established offering the best access to the IT services. Two major applications were completely renewed while national information solutions were connected also to the Schengen information system."

He went on to say that the Slovenian police adapts to the needs of the ever-changing environment. In the future it will attempt to follow the development of the modern IT technology and exploit the new developments also for an improved support to the police operation. He added that we may undoubtedly expect an even closer integration in the international environment, the increasing importance of biometrical technologies, solutions enabling an even greater mobility, integration of GIS solutions and satellite navigation.

Director General of the Police Jože Romšek and Director of the Information Technology and Telecommunications Office Andrej Bračko, M.Sc., then conferred memorial decorations to the most outstanding employees.

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These were former directors whose personal and managerial characteristics brought about a successful management of the unit: Herman Savec, Stanko Čufer, Bojan Kos and Bojan Glavnik.

Decorations were given also to experts who left an indelible mark in individual expert fields: Dragan Vidic, Branislav Protega, Anton Žagar, Igor Verstovšek, Marjan Antončič, Dušan Kričej, Bogo Brvar, Rado Mlakar, Jožef Vehovc, Marko Kraigher, Pavel Batista and Borut Kuštrin.

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Sincere congratulations to them and all other employees of the Office, whether still in service or retired, who contributed in any way to the development of information technology and telecommunications in the Slovenian police.

The event was made richer and even more ceremonious by the Police Orchestra with soloists, dancers with a number from the period of rock 'n' roll, i.e. from the time of the establishment of the Information Technology and Communication Office of the Slovenian Police, and an actor with a one-man-show Parody on Computers presenting his view on how computers changed our attitude to the world and life.

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The film on the 50th Anniversary of the Use of Information Technology and Telecommunications in the Slovenian Police may be seen in exhibition windows on Štefanova ulica 2 in Ljubljana till July 13.

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Left: Teletype Lorenz. model T36, print on the ribbon. A part of the set is a socket teletype box Lorenz. Used by authorities of the interior between 1947 and 1965.

Centre: Telephone set, inductor type, table, made by Siemens. Used by authorities of the interior between 1952 and 1968.

Right: VHF radio station, of make PRC 250- 8A. Producer IRET (Trieste, Italy) produced it in 1958 for special tasks of the authorities of the interior. Used from 1958 to 1968.

IMG 8609 First personal computer, model Partner. Produced by Iskra Delta in 1985. Used by authorities of the interior in late 1980's, mostly for educational purposes.

Sincere congratulations again to all whose know-how, work and energy helped create this very successful 50-year-long story of information technology and telecommunications in the Slovenian Police!