Gloucestershire increases call handling efficiency

Gloucestershire Constabulary will be the first force to take advantage of a new communications service that will greatly increase the efficiency of its emergency and non-emergency call handling.

Jun 9, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Graeme Biggar

Gloucestershire Constabulary will be the first force to take advantage of a new communications service that will greatly increase the efficiency of its emergency and non-emergency call handling.

An agreement between networking specialist Cisco Systems and APD Communications will enable APD to provide intelligent call routing through its widely-used CORTEX ICCS (integrated communication control solution) software, making it the first ICCS to be approved by Cisco for handling 999 calls.

CORTEX merges TETRA radio dispatch, emergency and non-emergency telephone call handling, access control and video monitoring into a single touchscreen interface and is used by around half the police forces in the UK to answer 999 calls and deploy officers to incidents.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is installing Cisco’s IP (internet protocol) telephony solution to replace its ageing contact centre telephone system. This provides integration with the ICCS – which is used at both the Tri-Service Centre control room near Gloucester and the fall-back control room at Cheltenham – together with increased resilience and intelligent routing of emergency and non-emergency calls – essential for the force to realise its planned resilience and efficiency gains in call handling.

It will also support Cisco’s ACD (automatic caller distribution) which will ensure 999 calls are routed to operators as quickly as possible.

APD Communications is also working with Wiltshire Police to save more than half a million pounds on its communications costs over five years through enhancements to the CORTEX software integrated communications control system (SICCS).

Significant savings will be made by cutting the number of CCI (communications control interface) ports required for its Airwave radio communications system. By allowing the force to ‘pool’ ports and allocate them as required, APD’s CCI Port Pooling software has allowed Wiltshire to reduce the number of Airwave CCI ports it requires by 22.

The software also supports greater flexibility of staff deployment and operational efficiency: forces can collaborate or even share control rooms as the Airwave ports are not stuck with one desk. Users can sit at any workstation, in any control room, select any CCI port and use any combination of TETRA talkgroups – known as ‘true free seating’.

“This is a prime example of how we can leverage the latest systems to reduce costs while enhancing our operational capabilities,” said John Flynn, programme manager at Wiltshire Police.

APD showcased its latest TETRA-based mobile information, resource location/ tracking and control room solutions at the recent TETRA World Congress conference.

These included the CCI Pooling and CT Connect software and its portable control room solution CORTEXremote – used by Gwent Police at last year’s Ryder Cup in South Wales. The portable workstation provides operators with full control room functionality outside the control room.

Also on display was APD’s INCA2 in-vehicle communications hub and Co-Ordinator Reports, which allows officers to locate vehicles and carry out reporting from any computer, both of which have recently been chosen by the Home Office for a demonstration of the police car of the future. Used together, they can help police forces manage fleets more efficiently and reduce overheads.

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