Belgium’s police forces are increasingly switching to open source web technology. The federal police and already 49 local police forces across the country are using the openpolice.be platform for their websites. In total 126 of police websites in Belgium are reusing and sharing the platform.
The police Internet platform combines many well-known open source tools, including content management system Joomla, search engine ElastiSearch, database system MySQL and web server Nginx. Development of the Open Police web platform started in 2010. At the time, parts of the Belgium police force had already using Joomla since early 2007.
In a statement on the website, the police web platform describes itself as “the first Belgian government project that uses an ‘open everything’ approach. Setting a benchmark in how governments can innovate using open source and open standards.”
“We strongly believe that an open development model is the only way to foster badly-needed government standards, remove the fear of proprietary lock-in for government agencies, and create a large ecosystem that spans the government as a whole”, the project adds.
The platform allows police forces to create, publish and manage content and share data using open data standards. Web sites are adapted for both mobile devices and PCs. The openpolice.be platform includes manuals to help police officers write and publish content, and also explains how to share the content on social media.
The openpolice.be site itself is hosted by Timble, a Belgium software development company. The site links to a Github software repository, where the developers currently share only part of the code, mainly web site tools and development components. When the complete platform is published, the code will be made published using the GPLv3 software licence.
Timble referred all questions to the spokesperson for the Open Police.be project, Marc Alen, a telematics coach for Belgium local police forces. He could not yet be reached for comments over the past days. This article will be updated as more details become available.