Accurate location data is essential to support effective police duties
The operational duties of a Police force cover a vast range of disciplines, from preserving law and order to protecting life and property, preventing crimes from being committed and bringing offenders to justice. This complex web of police work has one common denominator that is pivotal to it all – accurate location data.
From property addresses to unrecorded roads, a precise geospatial reference is vital for law enforcement
A precise, authoritative geospatial reference is vital in every aspect of law enforcement, whether it’s identifying the address of a property, the location of a bus stop or alleyway, or a specific point on a long road. To maximise efficiency across the force, these locations need an anchor to ensure consistency and accuracy. As a result, more Police forces and other emergency services are increasingly making use of the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) to underpin their address data or, in the case of streets, the Unique Street Reference Number (USRN).
Empowering law enforcement with access to the most accurate address dataset available
Since 2016, Avon and Somerset Police has been using Idox’s Aligned Assets AddressBase Premium gazetteer to enable force-wide access to the most accurate address dataset available, complete with UPRNs and USRNs. More comprehensive than ever, the gazetteer now allows forces to create their own locations where these are missing from AddressBase Premium. These might be alleyways, private unrecorded roads or a specific area of a park. These can be held in the local gazetteer, and would have their own locally allocated UPRNs. If any of the locally added locations are added to AddressBase Premium at a later date, these records are easily reconciled on the gazetteer, eliminating any duplication.
Being able to add local data in this way makes it quicker and easier to pinpoint the exact location of an incident, on the occasions when the data is not held in AddressBase Premium. In these circumstances, the result is improved response times with the potential to better safeguard the public.
Increased efficiency of identifying correct addresses and rapidly mobilising teams to incidents
Using the UPRN as the defining location has increased efficiency for Avon and Somerset Police, saving staff time and, therefore, money. It enables faster response times and accurate record keeping on the addresses of victims and witnesses, or suspects and offenders. The exact location of a crime has been used to verify alibis, in addition to helping define crime prevention policies.
“Location is at the heart of everything we do,” says Olivia Powell, GIS Manager at Avon & Somerset Police. “Using an authoritative and referenced address gazetteer with UPRNs, we are more efficient and effective in serving our community. Idox’s Aligned Assets gazetteer enables us to link all disparate aspects of our work that relate to a specific address. It also allows us to record any location intelligence, such as risk data, against a location, so it can be shared with the relevant teams and systems.”
From July 2020, the Open Standards Board, via Government Digital Service (GDS), mandated that the UPRN and USRN are the public sector standards for referencing and sharing property and street data. This not only ensures accuracy and consistency across the whole of the public sector, but it also allows different agencies to collaborate efficiently to provide the public with services where address data is key.
“More than half the UK’s Police forces are using the AddressBase Premium gazetteer and the UPRNs across their organisations,” says Dinesh Thanigasalam, Head of Sales for Address Data Solutions, Idox. “Not only does this increase the efficiency of identifying the correct address and mobilising teams to an incident more speedily; it also enables forces to share information with each other, and other emergency services where appropriate, confident in the knowledge that the data is authoritatively referenced.”
Idox acquired Aligned Assets in 2021, bringing together the pioneering Aligned Assets solution with its own built environment software to offer the most accurate and comprehensive address data solutions on the market.