Business analytics helps PSNI cut crime

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is using business analytics software to help officers more quickly identify and respond to crime trends, reduce incidents and improve data sharing across its 29 policing areas and 80 stations.

Sep 15, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Custody photos of Danny Brown, Stefan Baldauf, Peter Murray, Tony Borg, Leon Reilly and Philip Lawson

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is using business analytics software to help officers more quickly identify and respond to crime trends, reduce incidents and improve data sharing across its 29 policing areas and 80 stations.

This improved insight has helped the PSNI to identify and manage crime spots and assisted it with reducing overall recorded crime rates in Northern Ireland, which are now at their lowest level in more than a decade (PSNI statistical report, May 2011).

The project in Northern Ireland is part of a growing trend among local governments in Europe and across the globe to establish ‘smarter cities’ where safety and services for citizens are improved through new technologies while preserving government budget resources.

The PSNI project is using advanced analytics software from IBM to mine, share and extract intelligence from critical police data across its eight districts in order to improve police investigative and prevention programs.

By identifying incident patterns the organisation can forecast crime ‘hot spots’ and proactively allocate resources accordingly. The new capabilities are vital in a territory where seasonality can make a significant difference to police workload; for example, around the various annual parades.

The software, developed and implemented by IBM ‘premier business partner’ Bidetime, is called PRiDE – Performance and Risk in Delivering Excellence. It centralises information from Northern Ireland’s police districts and allows its 7,000 police officers and approximately 2,500 police staff to expand proactive, community-driven approaches to police work by enabling staff to drill down to district and area level to quickly identify and respond to issues.

“With real-time information, our professionals in various areas are alerted at the same time of crime incidents and can decide how best to distribute resources far more quickly,” said Inspector Amanda Brisbane, corporate performance manager for PSNI. “We are able to better manage performance and risks throughout the organisation and gain greater transparency across operations to improve public safety for citizens.”

“One of the most effective ways to reduce crime in cities and in this case the entire region of Northern Ireland, is by applying analytics technology to public safety,” explained Mark Cleverley, director of global public safety at IBM. “By identifying crime patterns, law enforcement is able to gain valuable insight and focus resources on proactive policing efforts to improve citizen services. IBM technology is helping the PSNI to extract meaning from data to quickly address current public safety concerns and predict future incidents.”

The software simplifies the management of risk registers and automatically notifies risk-owners when action needs to be taken. PSNI can follow crime statistics and measure its performance against a range of targets such as: quality of service; ‘protective’ targets such as serious crime, road safety and drugs; and ‘personal’ targets, such as anti-social behaviour, burglaries and similar issues.

Tayside Fire and Rescue in Scotland is also using IBM software to improve the management of critical firefighting and emergency response assets by automating maintenance and providing real-time information to help manage, measure and track the entire lifecycle of vital equipment.

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