Six forces ‘join up’ with new data system

In one of the first initiatives of its kind in England, the Ministry of
Defence (MoD) has worked with six police forces in the Eastern region
to bring together all their police records into one reliable, accurate
and easy-to-use database.

Aug 12, 2010
By Paul Jacques

In one of the first initiatives of its kind in England, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has worked with six police forces in the Eastern region to bring together all their police records into one reliable, accurate and easy-to-use database.

The forces – Essex, Cambridge, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Hertfordshire – hope the new shared platform will help improve public safety, detect crime and bring more people to justice.
Up until now, each constabulary had multiple disparate data systems housing information on known criminals, crime recordings, intelligence, domestic violence and child protection.

These data silos could not ‘talk’ to each other or be cross-referenced and often contained an unknown quantity of duplicate or inaccurate information.

The platform uses the ClearCore Enterprise Data Quality Suite from data quality software specialist Infoshare, which brings together all existing data, regardless of systems, format, language or source. The data is then automatically cleansed, analysed, compared and enriched to create evidence-driven matches rather than using probability comparison.

This improves the level of accuracy and enables the police to see all related information and to use this data to reduce crime, including terrorism.

“We began to look into a unified database as part of the outcome from the Bichard Inquiry which, together with MoPI (Management of Police Information), aimed to assess and improve the effectiveness of the police intelligence-based record keeping,” explained Chief Inspector Andy Gratrix, chief information officer at Cambridge Constabulary, who led the initiative.

“By combining the forces of six constabularies, we could not only deliver economies of scale but we could create a highly accurate and effective system that would ultimately help us better protect the public.

“For us this isn’t about introducing another IT system, it is about ensuring we have the best quality information to keep people safe and detect crime.”

He added: “Police departments up and down the country battle with multiple legacy systems that don’t interoperate with each other, preventing a single view of all logged information and intelligence. The police forces of the Eastern region now recognises this and with this initiative is pioneering a joined-up approach that will bring together existing data that will be used as vital evidence to help prevent crimes and terrorism.”

Last year, Infoshare led a consortium of IT service companies implementing a national location gazetteer, together with gazetteer management software and web services, throughout police services in Scotland.

Using data from each of the eight Scottish police forces, the project aims to improve intelligence for frontline service provision by providing real-time access to the centralised data via integration to the new national control and command system – seen as key in crime prevention, tackling crime and in emergency planning.

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