Transforming public service through digital policing.

The Police ICT Company teams up with Adobe to help police forces work remotely 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

Encourage remote work and reduce the need for in-person interactions with colleagues or citizens

Results

25K hours of officers' time saved per year

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

Reduces statement processing time from four days to minutes

Adapts to social distancing guidelines by reducing face-to-face contact

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. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sudden need to protect the public through social distancing. This has added a rise in police demand for digital technology that allows hands-off or remote interactions.

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, working remotely when possible to protect the safety of officers and citizens alike, 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 utilizing technology to improve their business workflows and cut costs. Through this agreement, the Police ICT Company and Adobe identified one technology that would drive efficiencies for law enforcement agencies: Adobe Sign, the e-signature service in Adobe Document Cloud. While originally implemented as a pilot focused on improving workflows and cutting costs, Adobe Sign now has additional value as a solution that allows law enforcement to reduce face-to-face interactions, protecting both officers and the public.
 



“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

Last year, the Police ICT Company completed a 12-month-long pilot to demonstrate the value of e-signatures through a digitized witness statement process. 

Officers in one police force 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 a 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 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 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 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 defense 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

With social distance and isolation guidelines in force across the UK due to COVID-19, the Police ICT Company is working with Adobe, who is helping police forces to see how Adobe Sign can be used to replace other in-person visits, meetings, and activities, and how it can better support remote workforces. Other uses of Adobe Sign may also include 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, particularly during the current climate where authorities are attempting to limit in-person contact when possible.

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

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