The Public Safety Applications Innovation Blog

Henry Kay, Head of Smarter Network Solutions
Henry Kay, Head of Smarter Network Solutions

We’ve been preparing for the launch of a new product called Collaborate - our new location tracking service – and often referred to as an ARLS (Automatic Resource Location Service) or AVLS (Automatic Vehicle Location Service).

Airwave’s Police, Fire & Rescue Service and Ambulance customers have already deployed ARLS solutions in their control rooms, so why would we launch a new product in this space? Well Collaborate does two unique things: 

  • It is able to share GPS location tracking data between blue-light agencies, without the need to install any new equipment
  • It uses our “Big Data” technology (stored in our secure data warehouse) to analyse the billion plus records we capture each month to give our customers greater insight into how their resources are being deployed, and identify efficiency savings

I’ve had the privilege of meeting with a number of senior Police officers from around the country over the last few months to talk about Collaborate, and demonstrate it in action. Over the coming weeks I’d like to share some reflections on the interactions I’ve had with senior commanders across all blue-light agencies. In this blog post, I’d like to talk about “yo-yo policing”.

Are officers returning back to base to complete paperwork, fill out forms, or access intelligence databases? Or is it actually to process suspects who have been arrested?

There is a common concern that senior Police commanders have identified about a common pattern of behaviour which emerges when looking at the big picture on resource deployment. This pattern of resource deployment has been referred to as “yo-yo policing” – a rather unkind term and I hasten to add it was not coined by me, but by senior Police staff.

So what is “yo-yo policing”? On a particular shift, officers assigned to response Policing teams will each have to deal with a number of incidents. It has long been believed that many Police officers spend a great deal of time on shift returning to their base Police station in-between dealing with each incident. In fact, the data we have been gathering does tend to back that up.

Of course, the data does not tell us why officers are returning to the station, but it does prompt certain questions. Are officers returning back to base to complete paperwork, fill out forms, or access intelligence databases? Or is it actually to process suspects who have been arrested? Is there more we can do to assist Police staff to remain visible in the community? Can technology play a role here?

Using Collaborate, we worked with Sussex Police and developed an interactive dashboard which counts the number of trips out of the Police station for each officer, and shows this in a graphical way. When we showed this to the team at Sussex Police, it certainly prompted some further debate and discussion.

So what may need to change? Is it officer behaviour, or is it the underlying criminal justice processes, and the technology we use to support these processes? There are a number of technology solutions available in the market to provide mobile data to Police officers on the ground, typically using PDAs, or Blackberries. All of these claim to drive productivity improvement.

When we showed this to the team at Sussex Police, it certainly prompted some further debate and discussion.

At Airwave, we have a mobile application suite called Pronto, which not only provides the mobile handsets and applications, but streamlines and integrates with the key end-to-end criminal justice processes which Police officers have to manage on a day to day basis.

So to summarise, at Airwave, we have the diagnosis (Collaborate) and the cure (Pronto) for any attack of yo-yo Policing!

For more information about Collaborate and Pronto please visit the SmartWorld applications section of our web site.

And if you are more technically minded, why not read our Collaborate White Paper.

- Henry Kay, Head of Smarter Network Solutions