Serving 600,000 residents and policing more than 1,000 square miles of urban centres and rural environments, Gloucestershire Constabulary wanted to gain an up-to-date picture of incidents across the county. In a bid to do so, the force has employed analytics software from SAS to improve policing strategies, gain real-time insight into incidents and identify crime ‘hotspots’.
To create automated reports and present the data on a set of dashboards, the police force has turned to SAS to provide analytics solutions including SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics. It will now be able to draw together data from numerous systems and sources, including its electronic incident log, phone system, GPS-capable radios and criminal demographic data from the Office for National Statistics.
By way of analytics, the force is able to use the data available to identify crime ‘hotspots’, monitor trends of offenders across the county and see a live breakdown of crime statistics.
“With police budgets across the country under pressure, it’s vital that we look for every opportunity to operate more efficiently and use the latest data-driven tools in the fight against crime,” said Bob Keeble, continuous improvement manager at Gloucestershire Constabulary. “To ensure that we focus on the issues that are most important to our residents, we needed a breakdown of the locations and times when criminals are most likely to strike. We also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of long-term trends for serious offences, such as burglary and rape, in order to discover the influence of various factors such as seasonality. Such insight enables us to deploy our resources in the most effective way in order to prevent crimes, create awareness campaigns and protect residents.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary selected SAS for its combination of real-time analytics and clear visualisation capabilities. The force will use the insights realised to improve accountability by providing crime maps and performance indicators for the public. It will also provide detailed crime reports to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that resources are deployed where they’re most needed so as to protect communities.
“The feedback from our officers has been excellent,” said Keeble. “They find the technology incredibly intuitive and simple to use. Our senior leaders can now view three-year trends per crime type, and gain crucial insight into trends and patterns. Meanwhile, officers can drill down into the data to monitor specific crime types on a postcode-by-postcode basis. This insight can then be used to inform the public about crime ‘hotspots’, such as spikes in burglaries in a particular area.”
Other benefits include using data to build a co-ordinated media and policing strategy and enabling the force to manage officers’ workloads more effectively. Staff training can also be better aligned to local needs, for example, ensuring that officers are trained to manage the rise in sexual offences and cyber crime.
“Our work with Gloucestershire Constabulary is already helping to tackle crime more effectively and make the most of available resources,” said Charles Senabulya, vice-president and country manager (UK and Ireland) at SAS. “Previously, preparing a single report would have taken Gloucestershire Constabulary an entire day. We’ve automated this process, enabling analysts to spend more time planning new dashboards in order to address both existing and emerging needs. As we continue to partner with them in the ongoing fight against crime, we’re exploring new developments, such as how to enhance forecasting abilities and incorporate new sources of data. This includes information from body-worn cameras.”