Transforming public service through digital policing.

The Police ICT Company teams up with Adobe to help police forces free officers’ time and resolve more crimes using Adobe Sign

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The Police ICT Company

London, United Kingdom
www.ict.police.uk

25K

Hours of officers’ time saved per year

Objectives

Reduce the average time for police to take statements for non-emergency crimes

Take witness statements more quickly, resulting in more reliable witness recollection and more prosecutions

Decrease the heavy administration and costs involved in processing crime statements

Results

1,500% ROI on Adobe Sign costs with streamlined telephone process

Reduces statement processing time from four days to minutes

Scales easily to manage demands during peak tourist season

Protecting communities through technology

Technology plays a critical role in transforming nearly every industry today. In law enforcement, new technologies offer many opportunities to improve the ways that police interact with and protect the public.

The Police ICT Company teams up with technology suppliers and law enforcement agencies, including police forces, across the United Kingdom to help deliver innovative technologies efficiently. By identifying and procuring new technologies at scale, the Police ICT Company aims to cut costs for members and deliver more value on public money investments.

“Digital innovation—be it artificial intelligence, voice-activated software, body-worn video, mobile solutions or digital processes—offers rich potential to transform our public service capabilities,” says Simon Clifford, Director of Data and Digital, the Police ICT Company. “Members of the public want to engage with law enforcement in new ways, so we’re considering how technology can help policing meet their needs while also helping to tackle crime.”

Collaborating with Adobe

The Police ICT Company and Adobe work together strategically on the discovery, planning, enablement and retrospectives of Policing Use Cases that can be achieved through Adobe solutions and services with the core goals of saving time and money for police forces.

The Adobe Police ICT Company Enterprise Agreement enables police forces to further achieve success through utilising technology to improve their business workflows and cut costs.
 



“Witnesses like the speed and convenience of the telephone interviews and the Adobe Sign process. Investigators welcome the higher quality of witness recall, which contributes more proof points to their cases.”

 

Simon Clifford
Director of Data and Digital, The Police ICT Company



The importance of witness statements to resolving crimes

The Police ICT Company delivers strong value to law enforcement agencies by staying on top of good technology practices and supporting services through innovative technology. One example of this is how the Company is helping to digitise the witness statement process.

Within one police force, officers typically took statements from victims and witnesses in person for volume crimes. However, because of resourcing pressures, it could take several days for an officer to visit a witness—with the result that some had forgotten key details about what they’d seen or had second thoughts about pursuing the crime. Operating in a popular tourist location with a transient population, officers also ran into a problem where some witnesses who were visiting the area on holiday had already returned home, making it more difficult to reach witnesses and pursue cases.

When witnesses were interviewed in person, the process could take as long as three hours for an officer to travel to and from the witness’s location and then file the statement back at the police station. Handwritten notes taken by officers from these visits might require more detail than the officers could record at the time.

“The quality of witness recall is crucial to a conviction,” explains the Assistant Chief Constable from an UK police force. “The police force wanted a way to complete its witness statements faster so that it had a better chance of resolving the crimes.”

Piloting a streamlined way to take statements

Adobe worked with the police force to pilot a telephone-based statement taking system for volume crime cases, with in-person visits only used for more serious crimes. The new telephone process incorporates an e-signature capability using Adobe Sign, an Adobe Document Cloud solution, to enable remote approval for witness statements.

Electronic signatures had only just been accepted for use in UK courts for low-risk crimes, making Adobe Sign a timely solution for the force.

The results of the 90-case, 2-week pilot were encouraging, with statement completion time reduced from three hours to an average of one. The approach not only freed up valuable time for officers—it was also more convenient for witnesses, who no longer had to wait for police to visit their homes and could still provide statements even if they had left the area.

With the new approach validated, a final, year-long pilot was set up. The police force recruited a specialist telephone Enhanced Record Taking team (ERT) comprising locally based professionals proficient in telephone communications, listening and speed typing.

For volume crimes, an ERT team member reviewed and arranged a phone call with witnesses or interviewed them at that moment if it was convenient. The ERT representative then generated a draught draft statement while on the phone with the witness and read it back to them. Once the witness approved the statement verbally, an email was sent with a link to sign a legally binding approval of the statement via Adobe Sign. The completed document was stored in Adobe Document Cloud.

If there was any risk of coercion or of another person signing the statement, a PIN code was sent within the Adobe Sign workflow, allowing a witness to privately sign the statement for added security.

Public and police embrace new procedures

Public reaction to the new digital workflow for statement taking has been consistently positive, with one witness saying: “The experience was efficient and prompt and I appreciated being able to provide a statement from the comfort of my home. The ease of the process helped me to get through the trauma of my experience.”

“The public and police love the new approach,” says Simon. “Witnesses like the speed and convenience of the telephone interviews and the Adobe Sign process. Investigators welcome the higher quality of witness recall, which contributes more points to prove their cases. In fact, the final pilot was so successful that the police force was granted permanent approval for the process and it’s now being incorporated into its operating model.”
 



“By bringing technology into the witness statement process, this police force freed up response officers to deal with more serious crimes and respond faster to those who need urgent support.”

Simon Clifford
Director of Data and Digital, The Police ICT Company



Savings help put more officers on the street

Up to 700 statements per month are now completed via phone and Adobe Sign. With three hours of a police officer’s time saved per case compared with the old procedure, Simon estimates the force saves over 6,000 hours per quarter (25,000 per annum), which is the equivalent of 29 shifts of an officer’s time per quarter.

“With the public sensitive to police presence, the ability to put more full-time officers back on beats is fantastic,” he says. “By bringing technology into the witness statement process, this police force freed up response officers to deal with more serious crimes and respond faster to those who need urgent support.”

Digital efficiencies yield compelling ROI

The Adobe Sign digital workflows have virtually eliminated statement-related administration as well as legacy paper and postage costs. The solution also freed up workspace previously occupied by rows of storage cabinets.

“With the efficiencies of Adobe Sign and the streamlined telephone process, the police force saw more than a 1,500% return on its investment into Adobe Sign. In addition, time savings is 60% more than the cost of running the team,” notes Simon.

In addition to the financial benefits, the highly secure Adobe Sign workflows provide the police force with European Union GDPR data protection compliance. The processes also provide an audit trail of who has looked at, opened and signed a document—valuable for instance should a defence solicitor have any queries. Adobe Sign also scales easily, allowing the police force to handle increasing demand throughout the year.

Ease of use drives Adobe Sign adoption

One major factor in the success of Adobe Sign is its ease of use. Adobe’s onboarding team showed the local police IT team how to install, configure and use Adobe Sign, transferring knowledge to enable them to train the case response team themselves. “Getting the team up-and-running with Adobe Sign was easy,” says Simon. “The solution is so intuitive that the police force can train its staff to use Adobe Sign within minutes. They are able to take telephone statements within the hour.”
 



"With the efficiencies of Adobe Sign and the streamlined telephone process, the police force saw more than a 1,500% return on its investment into Adobe Sign. In addition, time savings is 60% more than the cost of running the team.”

Simon Clifford
Director of Data and Digital, The Police ICT Company



Digital technologies key to future policing success

Based on the success of the telephone statement process, the Police ICT Company is now working with the police force to find other uses for Adobe Sign. This may include other uses such as HR onboarding and to accelerate completing paper-intensive procedures such as the 55,000, 15-page firearm licensing applications that the force processes every year.

The Police ICT Company also sees great potential for other police forces across the United Kingdom to achieve clear benefits through the telephone-statement process using Adobe Sign.

“Digital technologies such as Adobe Sign have the power to transform a police force’s capabilities,” concludes Simon. “It’s clear that digital policing will help officers ensure that their organisations are fit for success, today and tomorrow.”

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