- Managing the massive increase in digital information being collected and generated by the force
- Locating and identifying all the relevant evidence stored in disparate storage systems
- A pressing need to modernise and provide the ‘best service’ to the citizens
- NICE Investigate
- Improved efficiency particularly in the collection of CCTV footage
- Efficiencies created more time to allow focus on the specialist elements of investigations
- A greater transparency and completeness of evidence for sharing to the CPS
- Quicker remand decisions helped protect victims
About Nottinghamshire Police
Nottinghamshire Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the shire county of Nottingham and the unitary authority of Nottingham in the East Midlands of England. The area has a population of just over 1 million.
Located in the heart of England that is internationally famous for Sherwood Forest, home of the Robin Hood legend, Nottinghamshire Police has a dedicated workforce of more than 4,000 officers and staff, who are supported by a growing army of hundreds of Special Constables, cadets, and volunteers.
Nottinghamshire Police recognised that the volume of digital evidence its officers were dealing with, during their investigations, would only continue to grow. To ensure the force could provide the communities it serves the best possible service, it needed to modernise. Detective Chief Inspector, Yvonne Rainford, states: “Policing is changing, and nearly every job now has a digital element attached to it. We are experiencing a massive increase in the digital information being collected, as well as the amount of data that we were generating ourselves.”
The path to modernisation would require the force to take advantage of the latest technology, and one of the biggest obstacles to overcome would be tackling its disparate approach to storing digital evidence as DCI Rainford explains: “When a case is going to court you need to be transparent and ensure the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has all of the required information.
If digital material resides in different places it can sometimes be very time consuming locating and identifying all the relevant evidence, especially with the high volume of cases we are often dealing with.”
DCI Yvonne Rainford, Nottinghamshire Police
However, if digital material resides in different places it can sometimes be very time consuming locating and identifying all the relevant evidence, especially with the high volume of cases we are often dealing with.”
The force began with incremental steps, the first being to centralise its primary systems, before progressing to integrating other digital assets and introducing elements of process automation. The solution chosen was the Digital Evidence Management Solution (DEMS) – NICE Investigate from NICE.
The project began with the integration of NICE Investigate and the forces’ NicheRMS, to ensure the coordination andcorrelation of its case files. During the deployment, NICE hosted interactive remote training sessions (via Microsoft Teams) to create a team of 80 in force ‘super users’. These officers were quick to recognise the benefits of the system and share their learning with colleagues. “When you roll out a new system officers can feel overwhelmed, however we didn’t need to push NICE Investigate,” observes DCI Rainford. “In fact, once they began to understand the systems capabilities and how it helps them to do their job, they wanted to move quickly.”
The force embraced the project with enthusiasm, and momentum built steadily as the various departments worked together to ensure best practice and coordinated procedures. With the first integration complete, the force began planning for the next phase, that would bring its body worn video and interview recording systems, as well as the Saab command and control system, 999 recordings and Single Online Home (when it launches in 2022), into NICE Investigate.
One of the biggest advantages of NICE Investigate for me, as a senior investigator, has been the improvement in efficiency.”
DCI Yvonne Rainford, Nottinghamshire Police
“One of the biggest advantages of NICE Investigate for me, as a senior investigator, has been the improvement in efficiency,” notes DCI Rainford, who considers sending officers out to gather evidence (particularly CCTV) a historically poor use of a costly resource. Now, officers can quickly and easily send public appeals and link to victims of crime, asking them to upload their material. “This is a huge benefit to our officers, who can apply the time saved to other specialist pieces of work,” comments DCI Rainford. “Furthermore, it empowers victims to do more for themselves and helps us when dealing with vulnerable members of our community, who may find a police presence on their doorstep distressing”
Once footage has been submitted (whether by a citizen or a CCTV control room operator) an officer is able to review and simply edit, redact, save, and share the video with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), all from their desk. Officers have been impressed by how they are now able to remand more suspects in custody, because they can get evidence to the CPS in time. “That feedback is priceless because it means we are reducing risk to the victim and potential future victims. Sometimes the small things, such as being able to manage CCTV footage without leaving the station can make a massive difference,” adds DCI Rainford.
Such has been the transformative impact of how CCTV is now managed, it has attracted the interest of the force new drone unit who want to use the system. “We have mapped their processes and created a method for storing their footage within NICE Investigate,” explains DCI Rainford. The force is continually identifying opportunities to extend the rollout of the system to other areas. “A super user within our serious collision unit used their initiative to reach out to our operation research teams to help them understand the benefits of the system. It is an excellent example of how NICE Investigate is breaking down departmental barriers.”
“I see this as the start of a journey for Nottinghamshire Police,” concludes DCI Rainford. “We want to provide the best possible service to victims of crime and the citizens and businesses with the communities we serve and NICE Investigate is making us a more efficient and agile force.”
About NICE Public Safety
With over 3000 customers and 30 years’ experience, NICE’s solutions deliver digital transformation, improved collaboration, efficiency and cost-savings to all types of public safety and criminal justice agencies, from emergency communications centres and police forces, to prosecutors, defence solicitors and courts.
Our Evidencentral platform (which includes NICE Inform, NICE Investigate and NICE Justice) features an ecosystem of integrated technologies that bring data together to improve incident response, accelerate investigations, streamline evidence disclosure, enhance digital collaboration with justice partners, and keep communities and citizens safer.
To find out more visit www.nicepublicsafety.com