Ensuring all employees are informed at anytime from anywhere.
Wiltshire Police is the regional force responsible for policing the county of Wiltshire in the south west of England. The force covers a large, mainly rural geographic area of 1,346 square miles but also includes several towns, of which Swindon is the largest. The force headquarters is in Devizes, England. Wiltshire Police employs more than 2,000 people including approximately 960 officers. Volunteers and members of the special constabulary also play a vital role as part of the policing family within the county.
Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the UK, currently with the sixth lowest crime rate per 1,000 people in England. However, policing such a large geographic area creates its own challenges. The police motto is ‘Primus et optimus’ which means ‘The first and the best’ reflecting the fact that Wiltshire was the country’s first police force which came into being in 1839.
The current strategy for police deployment in Wiltshire is to equip officers with mobile technology which allows them to be effectively car and/or community based. However, this is in turn creates a communication challenge with officers visiting regional stations and hubs less frequently.
“Keeping officers and staff informed and up to date is vital. Mobile phones are now a backbone for communications and are an essential every day tool for us,” remarked Clare Mills, Head of Communications.
The Siren app provides a fantastic opportunity to provide a wealth of information in one place that officers and staff can use at times to suit themselves and when they’re out and about.”
“The app is currently a useful information portal but we are excited by the prospect that it could become so much more, to become fully interactive, to enable our community policing teams to use it to update information automatically. We’re fully invested into and engaged with our communities and we’re putting our resources into the heart of our communities. We are committed to providing our teams with the technology to enable them to work in a modern and innovative way.”
This forward thinking, strategic approach continues to this day with Wiltshire Police being one of the first to look at how it could provide its officers and staff with modern communication tools to meet today’s policing challenges. Clare Mills, Head of Communications, said the app had enormous potential to become a core communications channel for the force.
Kier Pritchard, Assistant Chief Constable, said the app offers the potential to be able to disconnect them physically from an office but to provide them with all the access and information they need to work out in the community space. The Siren app is a first step to provide a single digital platform with a full range of key resources available to the user.
“Wiltshire Police takes an innovative approach which is why we were keen to introduce an app as we knew how useful it could become as a communications tool. We’ve been using it for a while and we’re now reviewing how Siren has been received and how it could continue to develop into a core communication channel.”
Assistant Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, who heads the force’s community policing operation, said the app offered the potential to become a highly effective operational communications tool, particularly for community policing teams.
He said: “Wiltshire Police is already looking at the opportunities presented by new technology and how these can be exploited to support our mobile police force. This includes tools such as electronic notebooks and the ability to access operational task and brief information in one place, via a mobile phone.
He said the concept was to develop Siren so it became a vital resource that community officers could access wherever they are. “A key area is the daily tasking and briefing which gives the teams the priorities for the day and looking at how this could be done through Siren. There is the potential for the app to be the ‘go to’ resource for officers, for example, if they need to know how to contact a certain community representative, that information could be provided via Siren as well as information tool kits. The opportunities the app provides are fantastic.”