New location system a huge leap forward

Northamptonshire Police has switched on a new computer system that will revolutionise the way officers are allocated to calls for service and the force’s ability to support them.

Jul 17, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Northamptonshire Police has switched on a new computer system that will revolutionise the way officers are allocated to calls for service and the force’s ability to support them.

Using new control room technology called the Automated Resource Location System, controllers can now view on a screen the location of every police vehicle fitted with a radio, or patrolling police officer or PCSO.

When an incident is reported to the police, the closest resource can be identified and deployed, bringing benefits for both the public, who should receive a better quality of service, and the force, which can ensure resources are used as efficiently as possible.

Northamptonshire Police is not the first to use this technology but has been able to learn from the experience of those forces that already have similar systems, enabling them to work with software company Northgate Solutions to develop a package to suit its specific needs.

Now control room staff can see a map of the town they are controlling and overlay significant information such as the location of telephone boxes or other landmarks.

Alongside this, they will be able to identify all the police vehicles, police officers and PCSOs in the area, colour-coded to distinguish their different roles.

Operators can then see the closest appropriate officers and deploy them to a task, rather than simply calling up available officers over the radio as previously.

There are also huge benefits for officer safety. Each police radio sends a signal to the system so that the officer’s current or most recent location will always be known. If an officer is in trouble and needs assistance, controllers will be able to see where they are and despatch help immediately.

Superintendent Bob Smart, who is head of the force communications centre, said: “This is a huge leap forward for Northamptonshire Police, both in terms of the service we give to the public and the support we can give to our own officers and staff.

“We will be able to monitor and deploy our resources to the best effect and I believe the developments of this system give us great potential for increasing the quality of our service to the public.”

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