Innovation awards for GMP’s ‘police station in a pocket’

Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) iOPS mobile technology was voted ‘Innovation of the Year’ at this month’s UK Business Awards.

Jul 31, 2020
By Paul Jacques

As well as the ‘gold’ award for innovation, GMP was also the ‘Overall Winner 2020’ across all categories for its work with HCL Technologies in delivering the mobile platform.

And GMP’s mobile technical lead, Police Constable Mark Jones, won a ‘heroes award’ for his “vital role” in bridging the gap between policing and IT.

The awards, which took place virtually, recognise businesses that are “leading the way with innovation and new technology”.

PC Jones led the roll-out of the mobile platform OPTIK and the development of GMP’s iOPS dashboard.

OPTIK eliminates time wasted travelling to and from the station to update records, giving officers access to information in a faster and secure manner.

GMP said PC Jones’ dedication “has been outstanding” in driving key decisions and future road maps for OPTIK.

It added: “OPTIK and iOPS dashboard are currently leading the way in terms of innovation and embracing technology. OPTIK is providing an app for frontline staff that improves access to GMP systems. Staff are leading on the design of the app so can provide the detail needed for improvements from an educational and experienced viewpoint.

“The OPTIK app is designed to give officers and staff the tools they need to be more effective, away from the police station. GMP has been at the forefront of leading this technology and many forces have been in contact to seek our opinion on how they can implement the same system.”

There are currently almost 400,000 ‘transactions’ a month going through the platform, which is more than twice as many when compared to the first month after the iOPS ‘go live date’.

The iOPS dashboard automates processes for specialist departments, such as multi-agency safeguarding hubs and missing persons, and is now integral to their role. The dashboard replaces the need to write down details manually, which frees-up extra time to focus on other business areas. This easy-to-use system allows staff a one-look view of demand in their area or division.

PC Jones said: “It’s a real honour and a privilege to be representing the frontline staff on leading technology and having considerably input in to the direction of the force and embracing this technology.

“This is just the start of officers having a ‘police station in their pocket’ and we will continue to improve the look and feel of iOPS mobile to continue to make things better. There will be a brand new version of the app out before the end of the year, providing even more benefits to mobile devices.

“It’s all about making things easier for frontline staff and I am continually seeking to do what is necessary to achieve that through my role.”

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes said: “iOPS has been a big challenge for the force and I would like to thank everyone working within this team. A massive amount of work has been put in to this project and these awards are testament to the dedication they have put in to driving this forward.

“I’m really proud of the officers and staff for delivering this technology and am excited about what the future holds for this new way of policing.”

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