Recording an improvement

The current recession has sparked debate around a potential reduction in public spending akin to the 1980s. So how can police forces meet their commitments to the Policing Pledge against a backdrop of budget, resource and time constraints? Jamie Wilson explains to Police Professsional that by gradually building on the infrastructure that already exists, it is possible to improve operational efficiency, empower officers to speed up investigation times, embrace new communication and multimedia channels and ultimately improve frontline services (and the perception of these services) to the citizen.

Jul 9, 2009
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Centre for Justice Innovation

The current recession has sparked debate around a potential reduction in public spending akin to the 1980s. So how can police forces meet their commitments to the Policing Pledge against a backdrop of budget, resource and time constraints? Jamie Wilson explains to Police Professsional that by gradually building on the infrastructure that already exists, it is possible to improve operational efficiency, empower officers to speed up investigation times, embrace new communication and multimedia channels and ultimately improve frontline services (and the perception of these services) to the citizen.

Inevitably, the state of the economy is prompting political debate and widespread concern around public sector budgets. Policing consumes approximately £17.5 billion of the public coffers each year and any cuts in frontline services will undoubtedly be met with political and public outcry. Also, with all forces recently committing to the Policing Pledge, the challenge will be to uphold these promises in the eyes of citizens who are expecting a more visible police presence on the streets.
However, regardless of whether real-term cutbacks do transpire there are huge efficiency and productivity gains that can be realised by looking at existing investments in processes, infrastructure and associated technologies and leveraging them to realise their full potential.
There is often a common misconception in both public and private sector organisations that any major innovation or improvement needs to be matched with a similarly-sized budget. This is simply not the case and to illustrate the point lets consider one such example – incident information management.
Rather worryingly, a senior member of a UK police force confided during a recent conversation that it can take anything between 24 hours and seven days to get a voice recording made from a 999 emergency call, played back to an investigating officer. More disturbing was the suggestion that his police force was not the exception, but the rule.
He went on to explain that such lengthy timescales were considered acceptable five years ago, but he really thought it should be possible today to deliver this information within two or three minutes of the call taking place, especially as the first few hours of any investigation are always the most vital. To his surprise I explained that it is more than possible to consistently meet his target and in fact, it was likely he already had the fundamentals in place to make this and much more possible.
For the overwhelming majority of police forces that have invested in the upgrade of their command and control rooms in recent years, they will have much of the infrastructure already in place right now to dramatically speed up the time it takes to get relevant information to an investigating officer. However, the truth is that often they do not realise the additional benefits that their investment is capable of delivering. After all it wasn’t specified in the original tender and the supplier didn’t take the time to explain and train effectively.

Recorders
At the heart of any incident management procedure is the information that feeds the investigation and typically, the central repository for this is the call recorder. Used by the command and control room and increasingly in custody suites, these recorders will capture and store all call taker/citizen interactions, as well as internal communications.
Historically, these recorders were tape based, making them expensive to run, with the need to continually purchase tapes and often a dedicated secure room to house the burgeoning tape library. Huge advances have been made in recent years and today these antiquated machines have – in the main – been replaced with digital recorders (otherwise known as loggers) that are more economical to run, offer greater resilience, high levels of security, reduce the risk of loss, provide higher quality recordings and negate the need for further physical storage space.
One police for

Related News

Select Vacancies

Sergeant to Inspector Promotion Process

Greater Manchester Police

Chief Constable

Ministry of Defence Police

Inspectors and Detective Inspectors

Metropolitan Police Service

Copyright © 2023 Police Professional