New IT for the Independent Police Complaints Commission

As a new organisation, the IPCC had no legacy systems to contend with when they looked for new IT resources for their offices across the UK.

Dec 15, 2005
By David Howell

As a new organisation, the IPCC had no legacy systems to contend with when they looked for new IT resources for their offices across the UK.

Based on its track record in providing IT services to other Government organisations, and the fact that its network solutions and services are already approved for secure, Govern-ment use, the Commission selected Cable & Wireless to design and manage its voice communications infrastructure.

Responding to the initial need to equip the head office with a telephone system, Cable & Wireless proposed a Cisco IP telephony solution, offering the opportunity to run voice and data traffic over a single, converged IP network. A second phase of the project then involved connecting four dispersed regional offices and one smaller office to the HQ, using an IP-based virtual private network (IP-VPN QoS) — a wide area network capable of transporting voice, data and video efficiently and securely. This would provide the infrastructure for applications such as IP telephony and videoconferencing, extending the capabilities available at head office to the entire organisation. The IPCC’s Leeds office will come on stream in a few weeks time. Last month saw the implementation of a system to allow individual police forces to feed in complaints via the Government Secure Intranet (GSI). This then allows the IPCC to track trends, e.g. in terms of the nature of complaints, whether they are against male or female officers, etc.

“In addition to the cost savings and efficiency of running only one network, this has allowed the IPCC complete flexibility and mobility,” said Stuart Beech, the account director at Cable & Wireless. “Most of the Commission’s investigating staff spend the majority of their time out and about, conducting investigations. They need to be able to securely access centrally located electronic case notes and data regardless of location and time.”

The IP telephony solution, now used by the 300+ IT users, offers a wide range of features to provide maximum flexibility for roaming workers. Phone calls, messages and faxes can follow staff wherever they go, without investigators having to dial into a remote service to pick up messages.

The Commission can also receive and import figures via email from the 43 police forces regarding the number and nature of complaints they receive each year. The figures include those complaints that did not need to be referred to the Commission for independent, managed or supervised investigation.

“We’re bringing complaints to conclusion faster while improving the public perception by taking our investigations closer to their origin. We can keep costs down and maximise our resources through the use of innovative applications.” We’re more efficient than we would be otherwise” said Steve Gediking, head of IT at the IPCC.

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