Streamlined control room boosts efficiency

In an effort to reduce yearly expenditure in the force control room by £2.8 million – equal to a budget cut of around 20 per cent – North Yorkshire Police is amalgamating all its control room functions into one site at York.

Oct 11, 2012
By Paul Jacques

In an effort to reduce yearly expenditure in the force control room by £2.8 million – equal to a budget cut of around 20 per cent – North Yorkshire Police is amalgamating all its control room functions into one site at York.

In addition to overhauling its communications infrastructure, the force looked at other areas where improvements and savings could be made.

As part of this process, North Yorkshire Police deployed new technology that reduces the number of CCI (communications control interface) ports linking the control room to the national Airwave network. The technology effectively pools port resources, creating an opportunity for ‘free-seating’ in the control room. This allows operators to take calls and dispatch emergency resources from any workstation via any CCI port and thus use any combination of TETRA talkgroups.

Sharing ports in this way allows staff to be deployed on demand, as circumstances require. The effect is to reduce the overall number of ports used, which both promotes operational efficiencies and can also significantly reduce overall costs.

By allowing North Yorkshire Police to ‘pool’ ports and allocate them on demand, the APD Communications system has enabled the force to dispense with 20 Airwave CCI ports, amounting to an annual saving of £110,000. The solution provides greater flexibility, allowing the force to raise or reduce capacity on demand.

“The force control room is the hub for all critical policing activities and the move to a single, centralised basic command unit operation makes this facility more vital than ever,” explained Tim Madgwick, temporary chief constable at North Yorkshire Police. “High-availability was therefore one of our key requirements.

“From all the in-depth analysis of emergency and non-emergency call-handling demand and the critical command functions associated with the control room, we firmly concluded that centralising the control room in York was the most efficient and effective way forward.

“The consolidation of having our control room on a single site will ensure the best and most appropriate use of resources to support safer neighbourhood teams to keep communities safe and respond more effectively to serious incidents. The change also offers the very best opportunity for North Yorkshire Police to actually improve its already high level of service through this new streamlined approach.
“With its resilience, flexibility and cost-efficiency, the CCI port pooling solution from APD has certainly helped us to achieve our goal of ‘doing more with less’. The savings made as a result of this project are helping us to secure a sustainable and successful future for North Yorkshire Police at a time when funding has decreased significantly.”

CCI port pooling is made possible through APD’s CORTEX software Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS). APD’s VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology means that CCI ports can be located anywhere – they simply signal their availability over the network.

CORTEX supports CCI port ‘categories’ or ‘modes’, allowing CCI ports to be selected intelligently. Audio is automatically routed to the relevant location. The second-generation CCI pooling solution does not require the CCI ports to connect via a central switch, so there is no single point of failure.
As part of the force’s resilience plan, which includes mutual aid arrangements with neighbouring forces, the port pooling supports the retention of a fallback facility at Newby Wiske which retains CCI connections to Airwave, thereby offering North Yorkshire Police continuity should the need arise. These can also be utilised at the force control room in York for additional capacity.
APD has worked with North Yorkshire Police for 12 years.

Andy Sowden, director of sales and marketing at APD Communications, said: “The solution is inexpensive and quick to deploy, presenting forces with an immediate opportunity for significant savings. With police forces under such financial pressure, ma

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