Durham Police rolls-out mobile devices
to investigators to enable access to
on-scene intelligence as part of
innovative Red Sigma IT system
Investigators in Durham Police are being given state-of-the-art mobile devices to enable them to access vital intelligence and submit crime reports in real time as part of an ongoing project to revolutionise the way the force records and responds to incidents of high harm and vulnerability.
Red Sigma is a crime and intelligence operational system that has been developed as part of a unique collaboration
by Durham and Cumbria forces. It is particularly innovative because it has been developed by in-house experts
rather than an external company and is informed by the operational requirements of its staff.
The forces have brought together top system developers from academia and the ICT world to create the
bespoke software system that is constantly changing and evolving in response to the complex needs of
today’s policing environment.
Speaking exclusively to The Investigator, Project leader Chief Superintendent Jonathan Blackwell from
Durham Police described Red Sigma as being ‘designed for policing by policing’ as opposed to
‘shoe-horning’ policing into a system that already exists.
“Red Sigma is unique in that it’s a live, dynamic process that is constantly being informed by the end users
based on their operational experiences,” he told us.
In the latest phase, he explained that operational officers were now being equipped with their own personal Samsung
Note 10 mobile devices as part of a six-week roll-out programme to enable them to record and access intelligence
on-scene. Cumbria has already completed the roll-out to its staff.
“This is a real game changer for both forces as it’s not just about submitting a crime report, it’s about making operational information and intelligence available when you need it in real time,” he explained.
“It provides investigators with the intelligence to enable them to make an assessment about a person’s vulnerability straight away and to inform their decision-making from the outset. You’re not inputting a crime report, you’re starting an investigation.
Chief Supt Blackwell describes the project as involving three elements: the software system, the mobile devices and most importantly behaviour skills and culture.
He emphasised the vital role that new ways of working played in underpinning the success of the software and use of mobile devices on-scene.
“Behaviour skills and culture are important because there’s no point in introducing new technology if you still have the old ways of working.
“Everyone within the organisation needs to adopt these news ways of working. If you’re a sergeant on a shift and you still allow you officers to come back to the station and input their crime reports then we’ve totally missed the point.”
A cadre of force champions or ‘super users’ are ensuring that the news ways of working are embedded into the culture of both forces.
Looking to the future, the forces are now working on a case and custody module based around the new national standards that are being set for digital case files.
Det Ch Supt Jonathan Blackwell