How putting the needs of citizens at the heart of policing is critical to transforming police control rooms

by Charlie Cox - Consulting Manager, UK Government Consulting
| minutes read

Taking a citizen-centric approach to control rooms can help police forces address their most pressing challenges.

It is a critical moment for police control rooms, the heartbeat of policing. Emergency calls are rising, non-emergency calls are increasing in complexity, and control rooms are managing a large number of calls that are not police incidents. Many forces are struggling to adapt to changing public expectations, more of whom want to report incidents via digital and social media channels. Combined with continued budgetary pressures, this is placing a big strain on an already stretched workforce, with rises in sickness and attrition.

Sopra Steria has deep expertise of police control rooms – delivering the STORM command and control system to over 65% of police forces in the UK - and believes that creating citizen-centric control rooms can help forces tackle these challenges.

In our webinar, we outlined our approach which puts the citizen at the heart of the control room. The webinar was attended by 40 professionals across 13 UK police forces who listened to our expert speakers talk about the importance of putting citizen experience at the forefront of decision making, having the right policies and processes, technology and digital platforms, and data capability aligned to citizen experience and control room outcomes, and underpinned by digital ethics and an omnicompetent workforce. 

As highlighted by the diagram, these factors can combine to enable forces to improve citizen experience and help forces create more effective and efficient services, build public trust and legitimacy, and better understand and manage demand across different channels. In our webinar, we looked at how these six different areas can contribute to creating citizen-centric control rooms. 

Citizen experience

Amanda Payne, Experience Strategy Director at cxpartners, spoke about the importance of designing citizen centric services and understanding citizen needs and contact channels. 

Citizen centric services allow citizens to report their incidents to the police in a quick and efficient manner, in a way that works for them to easily get the help they need. By regularly reviewing and adapting services according to need, police forces can drive demand reduction benefits, - helping them to deliver outcomes in the most effective way. 

Organisation 

Charlie Cox, Head of Public Safety Consulting at Sopra Steria, talked about how having a clear vision and strategy is essential to a force’s journey to becoming citizen centric, and how working with staff to redesign ways of working will gain buy-in and aid adoption. 

He highlighted the importance of creating a vision and strategy that the whole control can get behind and to regularly review and iterate this strategy, and associated policies and processes. By adopting this approach, forces can enable better management of demand at a lower cost and deliver a more relevant and valued contact experience.

Technology

Clare Moseley, STORM Product Manager at Sopra Steria, described how leveraging innovative technology such as A.I., combined with a clear and agile technology roadmap aligned to citizen experience, can help forces deliver more effective and efficient services. 

The increased use of the right platforms (driven by citizen need, rather than technology driving the experience) will allow citizens to access services more easily - leading to reduced telephone demand - and staff can get the information they need more quickly. Thus, the right use of technology enables a better citizen experience and increases confidence in the police.

Data 

Shakera Ali, Senior Data Consultant at Sopra Steria, outlined how police control rooms can harness data to better understand and respond to demand, and enable better informed decisions through improved data and analytics. 

By having a clear plan for using data and ensuring the right tools and capabilities are in place within the control room, citizen needs can be better understood and addressed through using the right platforms, and Information on the citizen and feedback on interactions can be provided to staff more quickly. This can help to improve the overall citizen experience and staff wellbeing through better resourcing, more effective services, and a more targeted understanding of the types of calls staff are managing. 

Digital Ethics 

Dr Kevin Macnish, Digital Ethics Consulting Manager at Sopra Steria, shared his insight and expertise in why police forces need to create a culture of digital ethics, enabling them to use data and technology ethically, fairly and responsibly and in a way that generates public trust and confidence. 

He shed light on the importance of an ethical system design and implementation and how it can reduce data concerns and improve sustainability. This will also allow the forces to be more transparent with stakeholders, enabling them to build trust and confidence with the public and regulators. 

People 

Charlie Cox, Head of Public Safety Consulting at Sopra Steria, outlined the significance of ensuring there are the right roles and responsibilities with the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to deliver a better citizen experience. 

He described how to develop culture, leaders and staff by equipping leaders with the right skills and tools to focus on wellbeing and building the capability to create an omnicompetent workforce in order to achieve better outcomes

The diagram highlights how improving these six key areas of a control room can enable better, more efficient and effective police services.  

The insights we received from those attending have helped us better understand where some of the deeper challenges lie and will form the focus of future webinars. We are looking forward to being able to share with you more details about the different areas in future webinars. 

We are also delighted to be able to give police forces the opportunity to complete our Citizen-Centric Control Room Maturity Assessment, which is a free of charge service. This will provide forces with an understanding of where they are today against our model and help them plan their next steps. The assessment will comprise a short survey to be completed by staff and a follow-up workshop to discuss the findings. Participating forces will receive a summary report and list of key recommendations.

Register here for your free maturity assessment.

We will complete one assessment per force, and we ask that the person registering is in a position to coordinate the survey within their force.

For more information about the maturity assessment or citizen-centric control rooms please contact Charlie Cox, Head of Public Safety Consulting, Sopra Steria charlie.cox@soprasteria.com

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