This chapter presents the introduction to electronic record management for security unit. It presents the introduction, background of the study, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.
1.1 Background of the Study
An electronic record is information recorded by a computer that is produced or. received in the initiation, conduct or completion of an agency or individual activity. Examples of electronic records include: e-mail messages, word- processed documents, electronic spreadsheets, digital images and databases. Computer based criminal records system were the first of such systems deployed as an attempt to record a person’s criminal history. The use of computers in the management of criminal records and crime investigation by security agencies tends to be very efficient due to the fact that less time is spent in finding and retrieving needed information to enable security personnel carry out their duties effectively (International Council on Archives, 2008).
Security units record information on a daily basis and this information is very important, as it serves as a documentation for future reference. For efficient management of records, there is need to replace present manual technique of recording security information with electronic method. Electronic records are vital in facilitating easy storage and retrieval of information when needed. Electronic records are those which require a machine to be read. This refers to computer-generated records such as database, and also those stored on visual and aural media such as voicemail systems, DVDs, videotapes, cinematographic film, cassette tapes, compact discs, mini-discs and microforms such as microfiche and microfilm etc. These are all needed by security personnel to enable them carry out their work well.
Electronic records are public records if they are created or received as part of performing official duties. The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) defines public records as ʺa writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created.ʺ All electronic records that are created, received or stored by a government agency are the property of the government agency; they are not the property of its employees, vendors or customers .
Government employeesʹ responsibilities for managing electronic records are the same as those for other records. Government employees are responsible for organizing their electronic records so they can be located and used. Government employees are responsible for using an approved Retention and Disposal Schedule to identify how long electronic records must be kept. Government employees are responsible for keeping electronic records for their entire retention period, and for deleting electronic records in accordance with an approved Retention and Disposal Schedule (Kyobe, Molai and Salie, 2009).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The manual recording of information by the security unit is inefficient and does not enable them work professionally. All documentation are manually done and this is associated with problems such as:
- Accumulation of useful office space with paper files.
- Accuracy about dates of filling various components of the cases are not readily available making referencing them very cumbersome.
- Making references to existing criminal record cases is difficult because of the manual mode of documentation.
- Delay in accessing information on paper files, paper files are sometimes damaged by water, pest or fire outbreak and can easily be altered by an unauthorized user.
- Missing files which might have been caused by theft or wrongly placed or kept by the officer(s) in charge.