How tech is transforming Blue Light services
We've taken a look at a few recent examples of how innovative technology has played a vital part in helping to transform Blue Light services.
In recent years the blue light sector has become even more under pressure to deliver effective and efficient services that guarantee public safety. Faced with external events such as terrorist attacks and internal transformation pressure, the sector like never before is the focus of public scrutiny.
One of the ways the blue light sector has been tackling the rise in demand and risk is by redesigning and/or supporting service delivery with innovative and emerging technology. And, while tech is never the panacea, it has certainly helped and in some cases transformed how the sector operates. Here are a few examples and some controversies surrounding them.
The ATHENA app: using data analytics in policing
Last year West Yorkshire Police successfully trialled an app that allowed users (both front line response services and Members of the public) to communicate instant data during an emergency response. Front line responders were able to, for the first time, use their mobile devices to send multimedia messages, alerting police to the situation in advance of their arrival. Supercharged with some very clever data analytics the app allowed the West Yorkshire Police to co-ordinate their response much more efficiently than before.
Using drones in emergency services
One of the early adopters of drone technology was Merseyside Police who in 2010 made the first arrest of a man using an Air Robot. Since then several police forces have started using the technology for searching for missing people and assisting them with investigations such as road traffic collisions and crime. And, last year we saw the launch of the first UK drone unit in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
The use of drones brings multiple benefits to the emergency services. Not just in policing but in other crisis response areas such as disaster management, national weather service tracking and traffic management programs.
Mobile fingerprint technology
Another example that comes to us from West Yorkshire Police! In February this year, together with the Home Office, they successfully trialled a mobile app that allows police officers to conduct footprint forensic analysis in “real time.” This of course saves considerable time and costs involved with identification. Using the fingerprints app that is hooked up the national database a person can be identified under a minute!
The benefits of this technology are multiple, not just for the police. For example, rapid identification could be very useful for providing speedy and accurate medical treatment by front line response units at the scene of an accident.
As is always the case with technology there are things to consider here. Drones for one, are one of the most controversial technologies currently in use. Unsurprisingly many have raised issues of privacy. If a drone is flying overhead how can we as the public know who is operating it, what it’s being used for or what happens with the footage that it captures?
These risks can and will be mitigated by legislation in the following years. And, the fact remains that the sector is in need of innovative technology that will allow them to reduce risk and deal with the ever-increasing demands. Blue Light sector has already spent £265m on G-Cloud and £18m on Digital Outcomes and Specialists. It is very clear that their transformation journey is only just beginning, and the investment will surely grow. For suppliers offering solutions that could help, this is the opportune time to get engaged.