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North Wales Police

"We aim to deliver a service that stands business scrutiny and this award confirms this unequivocally"

BBC's Declan Curry and NCC's Steve Markwell presents Geoff Bradley of North Wales Police with his Accreditation Certificate

Accredited IT Department

North Wales Police (NWP) serves the 675,000 residents of Anglesey, Conwy, Gwynedd, Wrexham, Flintshire, and Denbighshire. Covering an area of 80 x 70 miles of some of the UK’s most spectacular – and from a policing perspective, demanding countryside, with a mix of city and rural communities from coastal and mountainous terrains, NWP has more than 1600 police officers supported by a further 900 police staff. As top performers in terms of crime reduction and detection, NWP are also one of the most forward thinking Forces, especially when it comes to IT.

Geoff Bradley, Director of NWP’s iGroup has taken a strategic and entrepreneurial approach to providing appropriate technology and information to support frontline policing. Key to this has been recognizing the value of quality and timely information in consistently delivering an excellent policing service to the public of North Wales and iGroup’s approach is based on the following principles:

  • Mobility and Self Service: This means that officers and police staff have access to the right information, at the point of service delivery. In a policing context, this generally means ‘on the street’.
  • Competency: Developing the skills to meet strategic and operational needs
  • Culture: Innovative thinking and doing

With a small team of seventeen staff responsible for serving a large and demanding user base with over 30 different services, iGroup’s delivery tactics include the use of commodity hardware and commercial off the shelf (COTS) software as well as adherence to global industry standards. Benefits of this approach include risk reduction, openness and national compatibility, and combined with the outsourcing of day-to-day ITC operations, iGroup has the opportunity to develop innovative solutions that provide measurable benefits.

An example of this strategic and ‘dare to think differently’ approach was a fundamental transformation of back office and data management functions, along with new business processes to store all operational information in one place. Central to this was a UK first implementation of a Records Management System (RMS) – an ‘end-to-end’ solution that replaced the legacy databases. Organising the data in this way was a vital step prior to providing an effective mobility solution that would provide the ‘icing on the cake’ – instant access to reliable intelligence where it’s most useful – on the street. Once the ‘self service’ element had been successfully achieved, it was a relatively simple process to provide a mobility solution and today, all NWP officers are equipped with the latest Blackberry’s enabling them to spend more time on the beat and help the Force increase public confidence.

Geoff wanted to ensure that the IT services delivered were effective, efficient and joined-up. Geoff also wanted to demonstrate to the Force’s management team that whilst IT was innovative, (most Forces deploy in-house IT), they were using good practice, had the appropriate governance in place and initiatives were providing a tangible return on investment. The answer to these issues came with the National Computing Centre’s IT Department Accreditation Scheme (ITDA) – a unique business improvement programme and certification scheme that helps management to demonstrate that the best business practices are used across the IT function and drives business performance with a common framework to deliver continuous improvement.

He continued, “The ITDA has enabled us to get a clear view of our overall performance, the things we do well and those that could be better aligned to good practice. The whole process of accreditation was very straight forward, and because a significant element is self assessment, we could choose when to allocate the time to collating the evidence we needed. The assessment itself took just one day and the consultative approach to the accreditation meant that the team really engaged with the ITDA and they are proud to be one of the first organizations to receive the award”.

Recognising that everyone has the potential to improve, all applicants for accreditation receive a bespoke Action Plan following the assessment, whether they pass or fail. The Action Plan helps IT departments prioritise where they devote their energies, whilst the annual review keeps a check on performance and helps drive continuous improvement.

“I’m delighted that we’ve achieved this accreditation. We aim to deliver a service that stands business scrutiny and this award confirms this unequivocally. Furthermore, this is recognition that the public sector can be at the forefront in making effective and efficient use of technology” said Geoff.

Reflecting on the successful application, NCC’s Director of Advisory Services Michael Dean said, “iGroup and North Wales Police are deserving recipients of the National Computing Centre’s IT Department Accreditation. The level of strategic thinking, the delivery and implementation mechanism as well as the exploitation of inherent benefits in creating new capability is a stunning achievement”.

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