Richard Helson, customer relationship director at Chorus Intelligence, tells Custodial Review about the need to change tack which it comes to tackling county lines crime…

A recent report by the Public Accounts Select Committee concluded that the police are taking longer to charge suspects, with fewer arrests and reduced numbers of patrol officers. On top of this, we are fighting against growth in the use of technology, by criminals.

In 2016, the NPCC released The Policing Vision 2025[1], which set out its plans and suggestions for improving law enforcement over the next ten years. This latest document reports that policing needs a more ‘agile’ approach to data and information sharing between forces.

Whilst the police are now managing to become more agile on their own turf when it comes to analysing data, we have seen less collaboration between neighbouring forces to build a bigger picture of the criminal activity quickly.

There are many reasons a more agile approach is necessary. Criminals have become wise to loopholes in technology, particularly the way they are tracked through data. For example, with county lines crime the perpetrators use burner phones in order to avoid detection in their own jurisdiction. Richard Helson of Chorus Intelligence on county lines crime

With each of these crimes there are hundreds of pages of telco data to sift through both when tracking the criminals down to arrest and when building evidence to pass to the CPS. If police forces were more readily able to instantaneously share data across borders, you can recognise the patterns of criminals and build a robust case when it comes to prosecution.

There are still obstacles to sharing data across forces

The outmoded and often incompatible IT systems within the police are currently the biggest challenge for sharing intelligence across force borders.

A lack of interoperability between systems is a real barrier between cross border information sharing, as are outdated modes of data analysis. Using manual practices on data-intensive cases, when there isn’t the resource to bring in a police analyst, can result in hundreds of man-hours to process.

How the police force can improve these complicated processes?

Forces should continue to take advice and work with partners, such as the Police ICT Company, on technology best practice whilst developing and encouraging uptake of existing and emerging technologies.

They should also consider solutions that could help the police to be more integrated force-to-force, such as cloud-based technologies that allow a more collaborative and secure approach to intelligence sharing.

To then combine this with a tool that can quickly cleanse and analyse the data, as well as recognise and flag patterns in a case, means investigations are built quicker, with better evidence, resulting in higher numbers of positive outcomes when the case gets to trial.

See the Chorus Intelligence website for more information on tackling county lines crime.