OR helps Derbyshire Constabulary

OR helps Derbyshire Constabulary clamp down on crime

Two British police constables in luminous jackets

The Problem

The UK government’s agenda for policing is for reducing crime and the fear of crime, and for bringing more offenders to justice.

Forensic Science has a critical role to play in detecting crime through the matching of fingerprint and DNA evidence lifted from scenes of crime. Though research carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary suggested that many forces were failing to exploit this technology and the processes involved, to the full.

The use of Data Mining in OR has proven to be effective in process improvement and the Derbyshire Constabulary recognising this, decided to utilise data mining techniques along with simulation modelling to establish how forensic science process improvements could be made.

The OR Solution

OR consultants were used to develop a two phase project utilising new technologies and simulation modelling. Its brief, simply, was to recommend cost effective improvements that would result in increased detection rates of crime.

Phase 1 looked at the process of generating identifications; phase 2 looked at the conversion of those identifications into detections. It quickly became obvious that process improvements would be beneficial in decision making too, particularly deciding on the allocation of Scenes of Crime Officers (SoCOs).

It was not possible to go to all crimes though. The vast majority of SoCOs attended the scene of car and burgling crimes, the so called 'volume crimes'. It was possible however to add value by attending scenes of crime that would not usually be considered for SoCO attendance.

Discovering other areas of crime outside 'volume' crime that led to identification and committal required the application of data mining to fully exploit usable knowledge. Indeed, data analysis showed that the highest crime detection and solve rates actually depended on particular SoCO officers.

This information could be used to isolate those groups where officers were under performing, and to make decisions regarding their retraining to improve efficiency. The time taken to detect crime, had under the new system, been reduced by 68%.

The Value

In financial terms the application of this new approach and use of simulation made a saving of several millions of pounds since project implementation. Applying simulation methodologies had proved to be a great aid in improving detection rates, adding value for money and increasing overall efficiency of operations. The results of the project were so significant that the approach taken has been rolled out to other police forces in the UK.