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Public safety is complex, but data doesn't have to be

Timely, accurate and data-driven insights are vital if public safety agencies are to adapt to changing operational priorities and new ways of working


Content provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS)

By James Slessor, Accenture, and Ryan Reynolds, Amazon Web Services

Amid today’s pandemic-driven disruption, it isn't only the laws governing our behavior that are changing by the day. Levels of threat, risk and harm continue to shift. Lockdowns have triggered a rapid shift of criminal activity from the physical world to the virtual one. The result? A reduction in more traditional crimes, but an increase in online fraud and child sexual exploitation.

Events in 2020 have underlined how today's police forces must adapt fast to unforeseen challenges as well as the importance of trust and transparency.
Events in 2020 have underlined how today's police forces must adapt fast to unforeseen challenges as well as the importance of trust and transparency. (Photo/iStock)

As highlighted in a recent Accenture post, police forces need to respond quickly and seamlessly to such rapid changes if they're to meet citizens' and communities' needs and keep them safe. This means targeting resources at changing priorities, often at very short notice and at a time when budgets are under continued strain. In fact, the COVID-19 "never normal" has made it clearer than ever how essential flexibility is to successful policing.

But accepting the need for greater flexibility is one thing – achieving it is another. The reality is that many police forces are continuing to struggle with data locked away in siloed systems, or large, inflexible technology solutions. Yet, timely, accurate and data-driven insights are vital if public safety agencies are to adapt to changing operational priorities and new ways of working. And the urgency of harnessing data as a strategic asset is increased further by police agencies seeking to move toward preventative policing, using information to prevent and disrupt criminal activities.

The way forward

What's needed is a new approach to capturing, managing and utilizing police information. One founded on a more flexible, nimble and transparent approach that allows forces to unlock and maximize value from rapidly increasing volumes and formats of data and adapt fast to changing operating environments.

It's a challenge that we at Accenture have been working on for some time and, in response, have developed the Intelligent Public Safety Platform (IPSP). The solution allows police forces to gather insights from numerous sources and empowers officers and staff with data-driven insights. Critically, it is built on the power, flexibility, reliability and security of the cloud. This is why Accenture has formed a unique collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to roll out IPSP globally.

Why is IPSP so unique?

Up to now, public safety agencies have faced two alternative paths with their systems. Either siloed, with fragmented data and insights, or monolithic, highly complex and often rapidly obsolete. Both routes lead to rigidity, complexity and a lack of transparency.

IPSP opens up a new way. It does this by offering police forces the benefits of an integrated platform – one that can be customized to derive targeted insight from huge and expanding amounts of data. And by harnessing the power, security and scalability of the AWS Cloud, it equips public safety agencies to generate insights from their own or their partners' data, or directly from open or curated sources – thus enabling faster and better informed decision-making.

Equally as important, IPSP supports and enables police forces' journey to cloud, which offers them higher speed, agility and efficiency. Data is used in an open, traceable and transparent way to help to build trust and confidence with partners and the public.

What will IPSP mean for policing day-to-day?

Here the platform's inherent flexibility is key, allowing data and insights to be tailored to specific roles. Imagine if your officers on the street could respond to a domestic emergency with better situational awareness, benefiting from seamless and joined up access to any information held about that address and those who lived there. Or during investigations, what if analysts and detectives were able to instantly see new information patterns and linkages to speed up their work? 

Or, at a time when many officers are working under extreme pressure, imagine if you could use data to help identify those who are struggling (or may soon be) so you can provide timely and appropriate support and training to intervene before problems emerge. Or, when putting cases together, what if you could rapidly assemble all your digital evidence, analyze it seamlessly and include it in the casefile? IPSP makes all these scenarios possible, helping to prevent threat, risk, harm, and improve public safety and trust.

The platform approach that underpins IPSP is already delivering benefits for police forces today. Take the UK's National Data Analytics Solution (NDAS), a scalable and flexible analytics capability developed by Accenture and powered by AWS, with West Midlands Police operating as the lead force. Meanwhile in the U.S., Accenture and AWS are working with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to use IPSP to deliver increased operational insight and an enhanced Early Intervention System (EIS) to help support their workforce.

Why Police forces must adapt

Events in 2020 have underlined how today's police forces must adapt fast to unforeseen challenges as well as the importance of trust and transparency. And at a time when criminal justice reform is on the agenda in many jurisdictions, IPSP equips forces to evolve at speed for the new policing landscape. The ability to turn data from a risk into a strategic asset will help to underpin this transformation – enabled by the power of the platform.

To find out more about how IPSP can support police forces to become more agile, follow us on LinkedIn for further insights (James Slessor; Ryan Reynolds) or reach out directly for a conversation.

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