When Lincolnshire Police wanted to transform their force control room, although they were undecided as to what that transformation should look like, they were very clear about one thing, says Andrew White, Lincolnshire Police’s Assistant Chief Officer in charge of resources. They didn’t just want to buy in ‘a new box with lots of functionality’ to replace what they already had.
The old-fashioned view of force control rooms is how quickly can we get someone out to answer a call? But we didn’t just want a faster horse. We knew that we didn’t want the force control room to be just a conduit for demand. We wanted it to be resolver of that demand
ACO Andrew White, Lincolnshire Police
He says, “The old-fashioned view of force control rooms is how quickly can we get someone out to answer a call? But we didn’t just want a faster horse. We knew that we didn’t want the force control room to be just a conduit for demand. We wanted it to be resolver of that demand. We wanted a different way of managing contact coming into the control room to achieve a better-quality outcome. We took the view that, if we got this right, it could be the brain of the organisation.”
Armed with a conceptual idea of what the force wanted to achieve rather than a list of ‘functions’, the force began to explore what the marketplace had to offer. ACO White says they had already noticed the big players in the market were applying their technology to issues faced in command and control.
“There was a move away from a bespoke system to a system with wider usage and operation that could be applied well to command and control. We felt the market was moving in a direction that allowed us to think differently,” says ACO White.
The force then made the bold decision of taking different approach to procurement by not sending out a detailed specification of what was needed. Instead, the leading suppliers were invited to discuss their technology and how it could be applied in command and control in Lincolnshire.
There were, however, some red lines. Any new system had to be able to integrate with the forces’ core system including a range of potentially difficult legacy systems.
Motorola Solutions won the contract, impressing the force with its whole system approach to command and control. It appeared a perfect fit as, at the time, the company was also exploring different approaches and solutions to the challenge of managing rising police demand, says Yann Marston, Strategic Sales Director for Motorola Solutions.
He says, “Our view was that we wanted to provide a platform rather than a product. We were not looking to replace an outdated CAD or contact management system. We were looking to connect these functions to produce an integrated outcome.”
There were, however, risks to this approach for both Motorola Solutions and Lincolnshire Police.
Traditionally, a supplier would offer a product, but we came to the conclusion that if we did that, we would not be solving the problem for our customer
Yann Marston, Strategic Sales Director for Motorola Solutions
Mr Marston says, “Traditionally, a supplier would offer a product, but we came to the conclusion that if we did that, we would not be solving the problem for our customer.
“We had to forget about selling a product and, instead, focus on the digital outcome we were trying to achieve for our customer. To use demand management as an example, we wanted to look at how we managed demand so that not every response is to send a car out.”
“We wanted to answer the big questions and offer an end-to-end integrated outcome whilst recognising that the journey may start with a force wanting to update their CAD.
“The risk to us was trying to assure the force of the value of putting a platform together with a complete offering.”
ACO White says the risk to Lincolnshire Police was that they would just ‘replace boxes’ rather than have a much more robust system with a greater functionality that wasn’t just fit for purpose, but also fit for the future.
The result is Lincolnshire Police has become the first force in the UK to introduce a cloud-based control room system. As part of its 10-year contract with Motorola Solutions, the force will implement Motorola’s CommandCentral Control Room Solution (CRS) to integrate several functions including an integrated communications control system, contact management, computer aided dispatch, mapping and call logging.
The continuous workflow will help control room operators handle calls faster, allocate resources and work with other organisations more effectively.
ACO White says, “There won’t be a day when digitisation is finished, or we can say ‘it’s done, we’ve got all the technology we need’. It’s a continual process, so the best approach for us is to ensure that the technology that we adopt now will help us in future and won’t be out of date in six months.
“That is one of the benefits of CommandCentral CRS, additional capabilities such as analytics can be layered on top; it is very responsive to our requirements as they may change in the future.”
“Thanks to Motorola, we now have the platform we need to take us into the future. This isn’t about having a faster horse. This is about having a different mode of transport altogether.”
To find out about Motorola’s CommandCentral Control Room Solution click here