Thames Valley Police: A Force For Automation
"Policing uses a lot of very specific tools. We have quite a wide and diverse application stack, more so than is typical in private enterprise, so the opportunities for automation were massive."
Head of Innovation Technology, Thames Valley Police, LinkedIn
Thames Valley Police’s digital transformation program includes a pioneering approach to automation. Focused on frontline policing rather than back-office tasks, its already producing remarkable results.
Thames Valley Police is the largest non-metropolitan police force in England and Wales and serves a swath of territory covering three counties to the west of London. The picture of overstretched police forces is one painted across the entire country. In proactively deploying RPA from SS&C Blue Prism at the sharp end of policing, Mike Lattanzio, the Chief Information Officer for Thames Valley, and his team have demonstrated it is a technology that can quickly and cost-effectively provide solutions.
While RPA has already been used by police forces across the country to automate processes perceived as lower risk, Thames Valley Police has been more ambitious. It saw the potential for a series of applications that could not only make an instant difference to the way policing operates today, but the kind of service the public could expect to experience, too.
One of the most immediate impacts was in Thames Valley Police’s component of the region’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This critical service exists to link a multitude of agencies together to protect children and adults at risk of abuse and neglect.
As Head of MASH, Charlotte Donahoe explains, the workload is immense. “We are handling 14,000 tasks every month - triaging that amount of work was taking up a huge proportion of our officers’ time, taking them away from other important work.”
RPA now works across a plurality of systems to respond to triggers and carry out much of the administrative burden automatically, from intelligently researching signals that indicate a risk may exist for a child, to notifying the schools and agencies that need to know. It is returning thousands of hours to the force’s staff.
Donohoe adds: “What’s really exciting is that we’re now using RPA to help identify repeat perpetrators, particularly around domestic abuse, helping us prevent future harm.” In MASH, that meant designing a system using four robotic processes where the data regarding an individual or incident could immediately be analyzed and risk assessed.
In a manual process, Lattanzio reveals, it can take longer for a high-risk case to be identified and prioritized. “RPA can automate that data comparison, do some of that risk assessment and draw out items that need to go to the top of the queue.” he says. “This is really, really important, because we’re talking about vulnerable victims. The quicker we are cutting through to those really high-risk cases, that will stop people coming to harm, or even save lives.” Donohoe reckons those at highest risk of harm are now being targeted for support within an hour of the trigger arriving in MASH. And there have been other benefits, too.
“The MASH is a really good example of where we’re able to triage information coming in through the use of automation,” adds Tom Kempster, Thames Valley Police’s Head of Innovation Technology. “It takes us to a position where we’re better prioritizing risk, we’re making faster and better decisions based on quality data. We are seeing the daily positive impact of RPA on our staff and citizens we serve, because the process directly offers them a better police service.”
Download the case study to learn more about how Thames Valley Police is innovating with intelligent automation.
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