AN Garda Siochana launched an ambitious plan to install complex and highly technical recording equipment in 21 garda stations all over Ireland in 2007.
The force put out to tender for the contract to provide and maintain the service which was designed to replace an older system.
Today, the Herald can show that the Garda wanted call recording to become automatic, accessible simultaneously by numerous listeners, and accessible remotely from a central location.
The system being required by the Garda was also complex enough to be able to archive calls concerning a specific incident together, to make it easier to access.
Each taped conversation was also to be archived giving the date and time on which the recording was made, as well as the line it was recorded on.
Queries from competing companies interested in bidding for the tender show that the garda force was not interested in recording internal calls – just the ones to and from outside lines.
The stations where the recording sytems were to be installed included Harcourt Square and Phoenix Park in Dublin; Anglesea Street, Bandon, and Fermoy in Cork; Henry Street in Limerick; as well as Wexford, Waterford, Thurles, Portlaoise, Naas, Tralee, Ennis, Mullingar. Other stations included Mill Street in Galway, Roscommon, Drogheda, Monaghan, Castlebar, Sligo and Letterkenny.
This specification was for a Digital Logging Recorder System which would interface to An Garda Siochana's analog and digital communications systems.
"The proposed solution shall automatically record and instantly playback telephone calls and radio traffic from An Garda Siochana's communications systems.
"The proposed system shall be designed for fault tolerant and high availability environment (24 x 7 continuous duty operation)," the tender documentation stated.
Other stipulations about the system were that it would provide "instant playback at all management/playback workstations".
The system was also designed to be secure and only operational by authorised users.
"The workstation must allow users to copy calls onto CD/DVD with appropriate encryption so that they may only be played back by authorised users," it stipulated.
"It must be possible for multiple users to access calls simultaneously from a single recorder or a single archive storage device," the tender document read.
It continued: "Each site shall be capable of being managed from central location to include playback, searching and archival."
The voice files recorded at stations were to be capable of being encrypted so they could be securely conveyed over an open network, and played back only by authorised users.