Track your local bobby to ensure they are on the beat
New technology enables forces to show public when police are in their area and to target crime hot spots
HI-TECH maps that tell the public how long bobbies spend on the beat have been developed by police.
The Avon and Somerset force uses Gps-type technology to track all officers’ movements every five seconds to create the maps that are being used to counter claims there are no officers on the streets.
The maps, which log officers’ movements on 400m by 400m grids spread throughout the force area, aim to help police chiefs deploy officers effectively to crime spots.
They also track the number and type of incidents police attend.
The maps are used in public meetings in an attempt to reassure communities, and a public portal is being considered so civilians can track “police visibility”.
“The biggest criticism people say is that they never see a policeman in their area. What we are using the analytics for now is to show where cops have been,” said Sean Price, who spent 18 years at Avon and Somerset police before joining Qlik, the tech company providing the software.
“It is about effective visibility. It is using technology to make more of what you got, which is less staff and more demand.” The maps use colour coding to show how many man hours police spend in each 400m by 400m grid per day.
The data are compiled from signals sent every five seconds by each officer’s Airwave radio.
Every officer in Avon and Somerset is also required to wear a body-camera so there is a film record of their activity.
It follows a two-year overhaul of technology in Avon and Somerset which has included creating a database of more than 200,000 criminals and their associates which access 24/7 via an app.
Within seconds it provides police on the beat with an individual’s criminal record, MO in offences, current criminal activity and domestic violence record as well as the latest intelligence on the cars they are driving, the phones they are using and current associates.
Those identified as “high risk” can be targeted either by neighbourhood police or by calling on other teams to prevent serious crime or violence.
The “predictive policing” technology all officers can provides force chiefs with up-tothe-minute information on criminals, crime hotspots and potential victims, which has enabled Avon and Somerset to reverse the national trend of rising demand for police by preventing crime.
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing, suggested it could be replicated: “We live in an age of rapid technological change – criminals don’t stand still, and neither can our police forces.
“Policing’s greatest asset is its people, but its biggest opportunity is technology.”