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25 Oct 2010:
IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Dorset Police today signed a contract to implement IBM analytics software to aid assessment and ongoing development of new police force recruits.
Enabling faster and deeper levels of training and assessment data analysis, Dorset Police are now employing processes intended to gain greater insight into the effectiveness of Police training methods to quickly identify performance trends and patterns. The Force are currently looking at the effectiveness of their Initial Police Training Programme which is designed to develop knowledge, skills, understanding, attitude and behaviour required by an Officer in today's society.
An effective initial training programme is one that takes account of the specific needs of the wider community, the Force and the individual officer and a training programme that meets these needs can be directly linked to officer professionalism and performance in the longer term.
Well trained and well motivated officers have been proven to respond most professionally when out in the community.
As well as the immediate benefits of developing a more motivated officer, with training costing as much as £80,000 per officer over the two-year induction period, long-term retention of well trained officers is crucial. Data analytics is expected to help the improve officer retention by assisting the Force to make early intervention in circumstances where additional training may be required. To achieve this, the analytics software is being used to look for historical association between various known factors and levels of officer performance. In this way, past experiences may be able to more accurately inform current and future practice to save money, best direct resources and maximise the quality of service to the public.
Savings are potentially substantial; an officer who leaves the service part way through their training represents an average loss of many tens of thousands of pounds. Added to this is the loss of opportunity as recruit replacements are needed and they have to restart in the process. Perhaps of most importance however is the fact that raised standards mean long term added value throughout the service.
As part of the review, the analysis software is being used to examine any association between Police recruitment decisions and the long term success of selected candidates. Preliminary findings suggest that certain levels of recruitment scoring may indicate a certain recruit predisposition, for example, extremely high recruitment scores could mean candidates who would benefit from a more in depth work knowledge than usual.
Achieving a better understanding of recruited Officers could also lead to a better understanding of the career development needs of established staff and assist the Force maximise retention, engagement and performance of all its workers.
Over the last five years Dorset police has invested in the region of than £1.2 million on training officers who have left the force during or shortly after their initial training period. By using IBM Predictive Analytics Software to aid the assessment and ongoing development of new recruits the police force is striving to significantly reduce this figure.
An officer has a two year probationary period to satisfy the Force that they are sufficiently qualified based on both the physical and mental criteria mentioned previously. Currently decisions of suitability are based on the work of a team of assessors who extensively evidence the progress of every officer recruited. Whilst this process ultimately proves effective, it can be time consuming and all involved would benefit from being able to deliver a more rapid response to any challenges encountered.
The analytical software is intended to provide data to support managerial confidence in decision making accuracy and assist make the process of assessing Officer performance more streamlined and efficient. Timely and accurate decision making benefits all and data analysis findings and interpretive analysis is seen as having the potential to contribute significantly in this area.
Data analysis is also being used to reference community feeling on the standard of Police training. The Force plans to analyse the substance of comments made by citizens who meet their officers in the training programme. These findings will be cross referenced with previous citizen and other internal Force comments to ensure that the Force training programme is properly designed to reflect the needs of the community and that standards reflect community views.
In summary, the new system from IBM is anticipated to make a direct contribution to issues of officer retention and performance by examining historical data to:
"The software allows valuable insight in to how we can research recruitment trends to develop and retain skilled employees," said David Dale, LDU Evaluator for Dorset Police. "Analytics software requires a technical understanding to identify potential and IBM SPSS Statistics works hard to convey its use and value which is why I decided to recommend such an established brand to the Force."
"By researching trends and patterns hidden within the vast amount of data that is generated by knowledge checks, examinations, project work and practical exercises during the recruitment and training process, IBM is helping Dorset Police to deliver a cost-effective recruitment strategy that identifies the force's long-term goals. Increasing efficiency is testament to how analytics can have a real impact on Police forces."
Dorset Police has over 1,500 police officers, police community support officers and special constables as well as over 1,500 staff serving the community and is committed to delivering ongoing quality assurance and
evaluation in all its learning and development areas.
IBM analytics software spans a complete portfolio of solutions – data collection, statistics, modeling and deployment - predicting outcomes of future customer interactions, and then acts on these insights by embedding analytics into business processes. IBM solutions address interconnected business objectives across an entire organisation by focusing on the convergence of analytics, IT architecture and business process. Commercial, government and academic customers worldwide rely on IBM technology as a competitive advantage in attracting, retaining and growing customers, while reducing fraud and mitigating risk.
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For more information: http://www.ibm.com/software/analytics/spss
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