Kent Police has rolled out hundreds of business intelligence "dashboards" to give its 6,500 officers a means of identifying and targeting crime outbreaks in their areas.
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The innovative move shows how dashboards can be used across an organisation to improve performance.
The force is using business intelligence software from Business Objects to track crime patterns. The data is displayed on dashboards, which are published on its intranet.
Kent Police head of IT Andy Barker said, "[With the dashboards] we are bringing together many more datasets. Business Objects is looking at crime trends and crime theory. It means officers can scrutinise whether there are links between crime types and crime events."
The business intelligence tool extracts data from Kent Police's operational policing system, called Genesis, and its Holmes II intelligence-gathering application.
The force has 150 power-users preparing the dashboards for use by front-line officers. Of these, 20 spend their time exclusively analysing crime data to produce outputs that can benefit front-line policing.
Kent Police also uses SAP Business Warehouse to produce management reports from its SAP finance, human resources, payroll and duty planning applications.
The force said it used Business Objects as well as SAP because it needed a second system to mine data from its proprietary crime reporting applications.
The IT department decided to introduce business intelligence for front-line officers after its then head of IT visited Tesco's team of business analysts several years ago.
Barker said, "We have tried to learn from how Tesco analyses data. We look at areas of high crime and what we can do about them. More and more, we are pulling in datasets that we have not included before."
Kent Police has cut its IT costs dramatically over the last 12 months by moving all its core applications on to Novell Open Enterprise Server - the supplier's version of SuSE Linux.
The force cut its hardware costs by 90% when it migrated Holmes II onto Dell Poweredge servers running SuSE Linux last summer. It moved the SAP applications and its Genesis policing systems in the second half of 2006.
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