Officer tracking technology ‘transformed force culture’

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Resource and deployment software, which identifies where personnel are based on GPS tag, helps senior leaders monitor performance and cut costs.

A resource system which tracks officers’ movements, activities and driving habits to monitor performance and deploy resources based on policing priorities has transformed a force’s culture, it has been claimed.

The IR3+ software, which amalgamates, plots and distributes GPS data onto a series of maps based on officer deployments and movements, incident location and the location of fleet vehicles, was launched as a tool for operational leaders to deploy resources based on community needs and monitor service delivery.

Launched in South Wales Police in September 2010, the technology works either through an officer’s Airwave radio or through the use of an electronic Dallas key.

It uses live-time information from Automatic Vehicle Location Systems (AVLS) and Automatic People Location Systems (APLS) to provide a complete picture of where officers and vehicles are located at any given time.

Historic foot and vehicle patrols can also be re-traced by the system, which has proved vital in viewing pursuits as well as countering complaints against officers from members of the public.

In addition, the software plots incidents on a map, with each colour denoting a different incident type. Hovering over one of the dots brings up a brief overview of the incident, identifies which officers have attended, whether they were assigned to the event and the times they were there.

A spokeswoman for the force said the technology allows senior officers to measure officer activities, focusing on foot and vehicle patrols as well as station activity and can evidence when an officer has been on patrol in certain areas.

She added that a “culture change” had also manifested itself in fewer accidents and a marked reduction in fuel consumption and miles covered by the force’s fleet.

The spokeswoman said: “These reductions have been achieved through the culture change of officers knowing that their driving behaviour is being monitored, but also with the introduction of the accident accelerometer and speed alerts.

“The system has been used to dynamically brief and task frontline officers, while at the same time provided management with detailed information on performance down to an individual officer level.

“It is a system that has helped us respond to community concerns and provide the best possible service. It has also had a significant impact on our police fleet, enabling it to be reduced in size without affecting operational capabilities. The fleet, as a result, is now more cost effective and deployment decisions more informed.”

In addition, the software can draw a virtual boundary (waymarkers) to identify and define areas of operational interest, such as response and neighbourhood policing issues. The level of patrols can then be measured and compared to incident levels reported. The waymarkers can also collect data on the time police personnel entered, left and time spent in the high priority area.

“Waymakers have been one of the first big cultural changes,” the spokeswoman said.

“At any one time there are between 50 and 60 waymakers active across the force.”

As a result of the software there has been a 22 per cent increase in the amount of time PCSOs spend in the community since April 2011.

Further developments to the software, which has delivered more than £2.3 million in cashable savings over three years, include a mobile app to push notifications to frontline officers with tasking requirements based on their location.

The app will also soon contain location alerts when officers are near “hotspots” for anti-social behaviour and crime and outstanding warrants as well as identifying repeat victims of criminal acts.

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