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

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Charles Hy­mas Home Af­fairs ed­i­tor

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.”

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