Associate Magazine-Jan/Mar 2021
Continued from "Digital Transformation", on page 17
W hile all this data has value, it has a downside too. It has become a culprit of inefficiency, slowing down everyone in its path – from officers and records managers, to investigators and prosecutors. To drive efficiency up, police departments must cut down on the manual processes involved in managing digital data. A recent NICE benchmark study confirmed that manual process- es associated with data are a major concern for police. • About 66% of respondents acknowledged “driving around to collect CCTV video from homes and businesses” and “copying and burning CDs and DVDs” as the most time- consuming aspects of the criminal investigation process. • All survey respondents reported having to log into and work in a large number of data silos which impacted the speed of investigations. DATA OVERLOAD COLLIDING WITH BUDGET UNCERTAINTIES The data overload is coming at a time when departments are also experiencing budget cuts. A recent survey conducted by the National League of Cities revealed that more than half of all U.S. cities are planning to make drastic cuts that could potential- ly impact police and public safety. The writing is on the wall – the thin blue line is about to get thinner. Considering people comprise an estimated 80 to 95% of typical police budgets, departments have few options when the budget ax falls. It all boils down to ‘doing more with less.’ DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: LESSONS LEARNED Studies by Bain, McKinsey, and others show that companies that fared well during belt-tightening times didn’t simply make deep cuts; they followed through in four core areas, including digital transformation . In both past and present extraordinary times, digital transformation has made organizations more lean, efficient and agile. Companies like Salesforce.com, Oracle and Microsoft have all helped to power organizations through challenging times by providing technologies that help them take control of their data. Investing in digital transformation during the current cli- mate may seem counter-intuitive, but it can help police depart- ments leverage data to their advantage, while creating opera- tional efficiencies, cutting costs and closing budget gaps. There are good examples of this in the UK. Spurred on by the Policing Vision 2025, almost all UK forces have now adopted or are exploring digital transformation solutions to eliminate manual processes related to managing data. EVIDENCE MANAGEMENT: RIPE FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION One area ripe for digital transformation involves processes around collecting, analyzing and sharing data. Effective polic- ing hinges on digital information. From body-worn cameras and CCTV, to ALPR and in-car video, policing has become entangled in a quagmire of technologies and data silos. These very same technologies are creating a tsunami of digital evidence that’s increasingly difficult to manage.
For example, collecting digital evidence is a very time- consuming process that involves logging on to a dozen or more systems, sending emails, placing phone calls, filling out paper- work, waiting for reports, even driving from place to place. Once it’s collected, it needs to be printed, stapled, or burned onto CDs and USB drives, and then copied, sorted, and added to paper case folders. If CCTV is involved, officers have to physically canvas the area, download video, and drive it back to the office. It also re- quires a proprietary player, which means it can’t be played back on an office computer. Additional handling by a video specialist is usually required. Next, one must accurately reconstruct the crime using all of the collected evidence, but the collected evidence is often dis- jointed, because it’s recorded in different formats and stored on different media. Investigators can spend hours editing, clipping, even building custom presentations to “tell the story.” The final step involves sharing case evidence. The burden of physically duplicating all of the evidence, onto more CDs and USB drives falls on the investigator too. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION HELPS DEPARTMENTS DO MORE WITH LESS Digital transformation can help departments do more with less. For example, Digital Evidence Management Solutions (DEMS) empower everyone across the criminal justice continuum to work more efficiently and effectively. Using DEMS, an investigator doesn’t have to log onto differ- ent systems, or drive to go and collect evidence. DEMS also automatically searches across all connected sys- tems for evidence. A data correlation engine presents evidence that’s potentially relevant to a case to the investigator, who can then add the evidence to his case folder. Investigators can also add media files to a timeline, visualize them, and synchronously play them back. Videos are automatically transcoded to a play- able format, while original media files are retained intact. DEMS’ virtual case folders also simplify sharing of evidence. Investigators can share evidence with prosecutors electronically, simply by emailing a digital case file link. REAL-WORLD DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS STORIES Police departments around the world are putting automat- ed digital transformation solutions to work to digitally transform how department members interact with and leverage data. Experience shows that every dollar spent on digital transforma- tion can return ten dollars back in officer productivity. Here are some of the powerful examples: MERSEYSIDE POLICE: EFFICIENCY GAINS HELP CLOSE CASES FASTER With DEMS, investigators can do all of their work through a single system, powered by automated workflows. By automating the processes around collecting, analyzing and sharing digital evidence, DEMS not only saves time and money, it can also help get (and keep) criminals off the streets.
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