2020 Data Impact Award Winner Spotlight: West Midlands Police

Our annual Data Impact Awards are all about celebrating organizations that are unlocking the maximum value from their data in order to drive the business forward. One category that highlighted some fantastic examples of customers doing just that, was The Enterprise Data Cloud award. While data has become crucial in helping businesses weather the storm in the last few months, it’s also been more challenging to manage due to the speed and volume in which it’s produced. Nevertheless, learning about the success stories of our finalists has made us feel excited for what the future holds. 

Known previously as the ‘Data Anywhere’ category, the newly titled ‘Enterprise Data Cloud’ category better represents the move that our customers are making; away from acknowledging the ability to have data ‘anywhere’. Instead, it is a move towards recognizing those companies that are driving innovation and agility by modernizing their data architecture and optimizing their infrastructure to leverage invaluable insights. Today, the focus should be on harnessing all available insights, in order to derive the best possible results, while also securing and governing data in a way that meets compliance requirements. This year’s winner, the West Midlands Police, stood out with its groundbreaking data strategy that did both of these things. A first for policing in the UK, let’s take a look at how West Midlands Police is using data to revolutionize its services.  

West Midlands Police: an inspiring journey into the enterprise data cloud

As the second-largest police force in the UK, West Midlands Police serves a population of almost 2.8 million and has 10,000 employees. It deals with more than 2,000 emergency calls for help every day while patrolling the streets and responding to incidents 24/7. Take into account that all of these interactions create data points — and you can see why the force suddenly has a huge amount of insight on its hands. Realizing this, West Midlands Police partnered with Cloudera and Accenture, to build its Data-Driven Insights project. This project enables West Midlands Police to manage the massive amounts of data it holds, through its analytics capabilities, to improve actionable intelligence. The monumental success of this project earned the police its Data Impact Awards recognition. 

Data analytics to drive the future of policing

So how does it work? The West Midlands Police’s project delivers a cutting-edge, cloud-based platform, with Cloudera at its core. This platform acts as a data hub that provides the force with intuitive means to consume data, in both the organizational and operational spheres. By consolidating information from disparate siloed systems, the force was able to improve the services it provides to the millions of citizens in its jurisdictions. Now there is a single source of truth for all its data, accessible via an easy-to-use search function. This has given the force the agility for 6,000 concurrent users to easily search the database in real-time, across desktop and mobile. Police on the street can now get vital information, for example, about a location or car registration, at the touch of a button. This crucial function has already been used to inform over 1.5M inquiries, with query times being reduced from minutes, for complex queries, to just a few seconds!

The judges were also impressed by the groundbreaking use of predictive insights by the West Midlands Police intelligence team. It is the first police force in the UK to hire its own data scientists, data engineers, and visualization specialists, to develop this capability in house. Data science and machine learning are used to automate across the entire data flow and, in conjunction with graph technologies, are helping the force identify matches, patterns, and associations. This helps inform decision making and provides confidence in the data that is being presented. The West Midlands Police’s efforts have achieved incredible results that are having a real impact in the West Midlands community. For example, models have been built that help officers identify indicators of modern-day slavery, and signs that offenders may re-offend. 

The force also appreciated that while data brings great opportunity, it also brings a greater responsibility in terms of how analytics are used. It, therefore, created a bespoke data ethics committee, along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, in another first in UK policing. 

An honorable investment, which will no doubt inspire other police forces in the UK and beyond. West Midlands Police’s journey into the enterprise data cloud and its achievement impressed the judges. The incredibly innovative work it has done with Cloudera and Accenture is an indication of what the future can hold, not only for policing, but for organizations across the globe who want to better utilize data. 

If you’ve been inspired by the West Midlands Police story and think your company’s journey into the enterprise data cloud deserves recognition, we’d love to see your entry next year. Speak to your account manager to learn more about how to enter, and bring on the Data Impact Awards 2021!

To learn more about West Midlands Police’s digital strategy, and work with Cloudera, please visit our blog — With great technology, comes great responsibility — where Helen Davis, Assistant Director of IT and Digital at West Midlands Police shares her insights. Alternatively, to find out more about the Data Impact Awards, our judging panel, and winners please visit: https://www.cloudera.com/about/customers/data-impact-awards.html

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