Thames Valley Together programme uses innovative approaches to tackling root causes of violence
Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is leading the way in the implementation of an innovative approach
to data management. It offers huge potential in the way multi-agency data is used to inform policing and partner
decisions and actions to keep communities safe.
Utilising the Microsoft Azure package, in-line with the recommendations of the National Enablers Programme, the
Thames Valley Together platform is able to collate hundreds of live data feeds from across local partners in
policing, local authority, education, youth offending, health and criminal justice. It provides a single data platform
which then enables the creation of tailored, accessible visualisation of data and analytics.
It is already helping the force and partners to understand the complexity in risk factors at an individual and
community population level. It is underpinned by a commitment to a public health approach to reducing serious
violence, shifting efforts toward earlier intervention and prevention and away from costly enforcement.
The single platform, consolidating multi-agency data feeds, reduces the practice of less secure or less auditable
data sharing practices, safeguarding the data, ensuring its integrity and prevents over sharing.
Already it allows over 150 users in-force access to a tailor-made Serious Violence Dashboard and Stop and Search
Dashboards, providing new insight which is directly informing operational policing. It is being used to create a
public health-led Strategic Needs Assessment for the Violence Reduction Unit, which will be published. There are applications for more corporate services, such as HR and Service Improvement.
As the lead VRU for data, Thames Valley is already working with neighbouring strategic partner force Hampshire Constabulary on their implementation of the same platform and is in discussion with a number of other force areas on how to support their adoption. Work is also underway to explore how key partners gain appropriate and secure access.
While not at this stage yet, looking to the future, there is potential for the system to move beyond the more simplistic data analysis and visualisation and to use data-led machine-learning to create models which can be used to inform – but not make for them– professional policing and partner decisions and actions.
A strong governance model has been implemented to ensure legal compliance and a Data Ethics Board is in formation, including experts from the Big Data Institute at The University of Oxford as well as Public Health England, senior officers, technical staff and data scientists.
Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Prescott-Mayling, who leads the Thames Valley Together programme for the Violence Reduction Unit, said: ‘We know that the root causes to serious violence are complex, with overlaps between inequity, poverty, adverse childhood experiences and links to poor health, social and crime outcomes.
‘The Thames Valley Together programme helps us to understand these risk factors, enabling joined-up, multi-agency analysis. We can make better decisions and take an informed, public health approach to keeping our communities safe.’
DCI Lewis Prescott-Mayling