The depiction of police officers in movie and television often is in stark contrast to the reality. Typically, in television or cinema, police officers are door busting, guns blazing, genius-level problem solvers who spend most of their shift out on the streets knocking heads and taking names. Officers in movies and television often refer to the drudgery of paperwork but rarely will you witness them every filling any out. The reality for many officers is quite different. For most officers, their work shifts consist of uneventful patrols with holstered sidearms and endless hours of paperwork. While most officers would rather avoid fatal fire fights and insane criminal pursuits, many police forces are working towards a reduced paperwork reality that resembles the police forces in movies and television.
Earlier this month, we reported about a partnership between Microsoft and the Durham Constabulary in which Microsoft Dynamics helped the cops of Durham cut the amount of time spent on paperwork. In the process of their collaboration, the Durham Constabulary used the help of Microsoft Dynamics to transition their office into a leaner more efficient station. The partnership also helped Durham become the first UK police service to receive an “Outstanding” rating for their criminal investigations. Well, Microsoft is at again, this time helping the Cambridgeshire Constabulary obtain similar goals. The Cambridgeshire Constabulary was on the look out for solutions that would help them become a more efficient police force. The UK police service wanted a mobile solution that would help them gather and share evidence quicker, so they reached out to Black Marble for options. Black Marble offers custom consultancy services across the Microsoft platform. After a few discussions between Black Marble and the Cambridgeshire police service, the two realized that a mobile app was a sufficient request. However, the two found there were many magnitudes more they could come up with to help officers. Frustrated with all the time wasted recording hand notes into paper notebooks and transferring them to and from the station; the officers also wanted to make their information known to other members of the bureau much more quickly.
The initial proposed mobile solution from Cambridgeshire didn’t address the congested backend officers would be using on their mobile devices. Cambridgeshire had custom systems for crime, intelligence, motor vehicles licensing, custody and fingerprinting, and they were all separate. Cambridgeshire support for thousands of concurrent users on mobile devices was nonexistent, Black Marble decided the best solution was to architect a custom integrated backend system for the police service called tuServ.
tuServ was built on an Azure Pack backend and connects all of the Cambridgeshire heritage systems while providing the aggregation of large amounts information and returning relevant results to users. With tuServ, an officer could pull up information on potential suspects or detainees and have the processing from tuServ’s backend spit back small packets of information even in weak network connections. Officers can also pull up pre-filled forms chalked full of information to save time in the field as well as dumping information into the system that becomes immediately available to their colleagues.
According to Microsoft, “Using the tuServ Notebook feature, the on-scene officers recorded more details and photos of the area, weapons, and the victim than would previously have been usual, and the clear and visible integrity behind the evidence gathering ensured higher-quality evidence making it to court. In fact within ten days of tuServ being rolled out to officers, it was being used in the court process.” Thanks to the success of the program with the Cambridgeshire Constabulary implementation of tuServ, several other police services are planning to replace their mobile devices with Windows phone in order to take advantage of the tuServ platform.Further reading: Azure, Microsoft, Police