Bedfordshire Police is using Perceptive Search from Lexmark to enable three regional forces to share information, without being constrained by commercial or technical differences between their existing systems. With newly streamlined and automated processes, Bedfordshire Police can ensure that it fulfills its aim of fighting crime and protecting the public.
Bedfordshire Police Force covers 477 square miles of Central England and employs around 1,260 police officers, 950 police staff and 120 police community support officers (PCSOs).
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Serving a population of more than 500,000, Bedfordshire Police’s mandate is very clear: fighting crime and protecting the public. As with any law enforcement entity, the force’s investigating teams must deal with a large volume of information that resides across various systems and formats. There is also the added challenge of effectively collaborating with neighboring police forces and law enforcement agencies at the national level.
With data that stretches back almost 20 years, Bedfordshire Police must also account for the constant stream of new information that enters its systems on a daily basis. Accessing key pieces of information contained in these systems isn’t a matter of convenience—it is essential in ensuring that officers are informed and members of the public are protected.
Before choosing Perceptive Search from Lexmark, Bedfordshire Police had utilized a semiautomated search engine that required extensive and complicated manual input on every search conducted. The system was labor intensive, prone to operator error and very slow, resulting in high levels of frustration and increased risk. Coupled with this inefficient system was a rise in the volume of requests for information.
Over a period of just two years, Bedfordshire Police saw the number of information requests leap from 8,000 to 18,000—a 125 % increase. Initially, the force recruited more staff to process the requests and compensate for the system’s shortcomings. However, it soon became apparent that the Bedfordshire Police Disclosure Unit needed to identify and implement an automated search system to meet demand. Given its experience and success in helping police forces and other law enforcement agencies around the world improve information access, Perceptive Search offered a solution with a core set of capabilities that Bedfordshire Police investigators could tap into.
“Accessing key pieces of information quickly and accurately across millions of documents, multiple systems and formats is an absolute requirement,” said Bob Johnston, deputy chief inspector. “Perceptive Search has given us a single point of access for accurate and rapid investigative research, across structured and unstructured data, with flexible tools that enable us to customize our search requirements.”
Bob Johnston Deputy Chief InspectorWe saw immediate gains in productivity, keeping our officers and members of the public safer and helping us respond appropriately and efficiently to any given situation.
With simple inputs, highly accurate and rapid results plus the flexibility to modify a search to suit specific customer requirements, Perceptive Search delivered immediate results. The solution enabled a quicker response time to requests for information and helped to significantly boost productivity. “We saw immediate gains in productivity, keeping our officers and members of the public safer and helping us respond appropriately and efficiently to any given situation,” Johnston said.
Today, with the result of the UK’s Bichard Enquiry demonstrating the need for collaboration between police forces, Bedfordshire Police has used Perceptive Search to enable three regional forces to share information, without being constrained by commercial or technical differences between their existing systems. With newly streamlined and automated processes, Bedfordshire Police can ensure that it fulfills its aim of fighting crime and protecting the public.