Introduction

WAE worked with the Mobility Team in London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS, Met) to rapidly create an effective way of creating crime reports on the spot. This would enable them to report once, rather than writing the report on paper, returning to a police station and then entering into a database via computer. It would also cut down on the number of different report documents the officers have to carry.

This would enable frontline officers to create witness statements on the spot, take audio and photographic evidence and submit all this to the MPS system remotely.

This would also save time and effort, and would mean that officers spend less time in stations and more on the streets as a visible presence.

A sample of the current types of documentation required for differing incidents.

A sample of the current types of documentation required for differing incidents.

First steps: fact finding

In order to understand the current MPS crime reporting system, and also how police officers and staff use it, WAE ran a small number of workshops with frontline police staff. This revealed pain points, problems and attitudes towards the system. 

WAE also interviewed a number of key internal stakeholders at MPS to understand what how this could assist in many levels of the organisation. 

WAE running MPS focus group.

WAE running MPS focus group.

Creating the vision

From the insight gained, we developed a number of storyboards that described the team's vision of the possible future state of mobile policing - from the frontline officer's perspective. This greatly assisted in generating traction around the work, engaging with senior stakeholders and police officers alike.

Panels from vision storyboards

Panels from vision storyboards

Designing the mobile service

With the Met Mobility team, WAE developed mobile services that made best use of our end user insight, combined with best practice principles, to develop as easy a system as possible to allow officers to report and gather evidence whilst on site.

There were two connected services: crime reporting (where the officer describes the scene from their perspective) and witness statement and evidence gathering.

The team created a Design Toolkit, the app interface and interactions and a demonstration prototype.

Sample page from design toolkit, based on insight from users and user centred design best practice principles.

Sample page from design toolkit, based on insight from users and user centred design best practice principles.

Sample screen designs for evidence gathering.

Sample screen designs for evidence gathering.

Prototype version.

Prototype version.

Launch: mobility trial

The app is now built and is being trialled by in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham with high levels of success. WAE are now working with the MPS on a thoroughgoing redesign of both internal and public facing tools and services.

Testimonials: Officer Accounts
The following extracts are taken from officers using iPad and the Operational Apps within the Mobility Pilot. They have been redacted where appropriate.
 
During a recent high profile Murder Investigation which involved semi permanent postings where officers were based in the field for protracted periods of time; access to the internet and email became essential and invaluable to the success of the investigation. The investigation required officers to work extended hours and enabled managers to stay in contact with staff, which in turn allowed working time to be appropriately managed.
Senior MPS Police Officer
 
During another very high profile murder inquiry, senior officers were able to brief government ministers using images obtained via iPad. This expedited a normally lengthy process and facilitated quick time decisions to officers on the ground.
Senior MPS Police Officer
 
Dealing with an allegation of Theft of a Mobile Phone in Zone D at Heathrow Terminal 5. Using iPad I was able to use the NMPR (National Mobile Phone Register) to obtain the phones IMEI unique reference and circulate it as a stolen phone. I was also able to complete a Crime Report and eStatement using the CRIS and eStatement Apps. The point is that I did all of this in 55 minutes while standing with the victim at the boarding gate while waiting to board his flight. 
Aviation Police Officer, SO18
 
A good example of everyday use and immediate benefits from the device and Apps would be where Sexual Offences officers sent an image directly to Aviation Police of a suspect attempting to board a plane. The suspect was positively identified and arrested for rape while attempting to leave the UK.
Detective with the Serious Sexual Offences Unit
 
We now have the ability to create and update crime reports immediately at the scene and while with the victim, rather than waiting several hours to return to the police station to locate an available desktop computer. This recently resulted in a report being taken for burglary where a laptop was stolen; the report was taken via iPad and reviewed almost immediately. Approximately an hour later a known burglary was stopped in London with a Laptop with matching serial numbers and promptly arrested for the burglary. Previously the burglary report information would have remained with the officer for most of their shift and this suspect would either not have been arrested or certainly sold the laptop on.
Burglary Squad Detective
 
A World War Two bomb was recently photographed using the App and images sent directly to bomb disposal unit officers where the type of bomb was correctly identified giving army personnel advanced notice and information before they reached the scene.
Hammersmith & Fulham Response Officers