Modernising to improve policing

Dorset Police are investing in new systems and technologies to ensure greater levels of efficiency in a time of reduced budgets and higher demands. This project is called the Smarter System Programme (SSP).

Dorset Police’s bespoke system Forcewide (FWS) was introduced to the force in the 1980s making it 30 years’ old. FWS was designed as an all in one computer system to do everything that the Force needed it to. Other Forces had many different systems that interacted with each other to achieve the same result.

All UK Police Forces should be running a Digital First and paperless system by 2016. Receiving funding and realising the benefits of having a golden nominal system, Dorset Police’s aim was to replace FWS with a new modern, future proof system which would fulfil the CJS requirements. This system was Niche Record Management System (RMS) and is the lynchpin to the Smarter Systems Programme project.

Niche RMS went live in Dorset on May 20 2015 and is a multipurpose, Microsoft Windows-based information storage system that allows for applications such as a Mobile IT solution and the storage of digital files, replacing paper,CD’s and videos for example.

The Mobile IT solution is being delivered in two stages. To coincide with the launch of Niche RMS on May 20, general use tablets were issued to police vehicles and parade rooms. These tablets had Niche RMS installed and providing there is a sufficient mobile phone signal, officers can update the system remotely, removing the need to return to their station to complete paperwork.

Stage two is due to be rolled out in late Autumn and this will take the form of personal issue mobile devices, which in time, through the use of a mobile app, will also allow officers to search and update Niche RMS remotely in the same way as the tablets.

With FWS being decommissioned, a modern Command and Control system, due at the end of 2016, is also being introduced, which, it is hoped, will be the same system as is current being used by our Strategic Alliance partner, Devon & Cornwall as well as the other regional forces. In time, it is hoped that this will help reduce costs without a negative effect on performance.

Further stages of the SSP will see the introduction of Body Worn Cameras which will allow for the digital storage of information taken at the scene.

The use of the mobile IT solution will give officers more time on the streets and less time in the stations as they will be able to utilise 4g mobile signals to update files without going back to the station. They will also be able to access more information without the requirements of contacting the Force Command Control, cutting time and improving processes.

The phones, when they arrive will give officers greater opportunities which include:

  • Access the National Police Databases
  • Document evidence
  • Take statements digitally and import them straight to the file (without the need to return to a desktop PC – usually at the station
  • Update nominal/witness details: 1. New photos,  2. New tattoos


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