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An improved database for missing persons, a groundbreaking approach ...
An improved database for missing persons, a groundbreaking approach

to analysing forensic intelligence and a programme to build

confidence with communities are among seven police force projects

awarded prestigious beacon status by the home office today.

The£1m beacon awards challenge fund was launched last summer,

providing grants to police forces to fund projects which could

enhance operational policing or improve service delivery to the

public and achieve efficiency gains under the best value regime.

Seven projects undertaken by forces in Cleveland, Dyfed Powys,

Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Kent, Suffolk, and the West

Midlands have now been assessed and approved for Beacon status.

Now the forces will be awarded up to£6,000 to help them share the

findings of their projects with other forces, aiming to encourage

best practice across the police srvice.

Congratulating the forces on their beacon awards, home office

minister Charles Clarke said:

'I am extremely impressed with both the police response to the beacon

award scheme and the quality of the projects that have proved


'Police forces have seized the innovation agenda, producing

significant enhancements to the way they work and making savings to

their budgets which can be re-invested in crucial frontline policing


'The best value regime and beacon awards are helping police focus

their efforts and resources towards delivering an ever-improving

service to the public, and I would encourage all forces to examine

the success of these schemes to see if they can be applied to their

own work.'

A further four projects, undertaken by Avon & Somerset Constabulary,

Merseyside Police, the Metropolitan Police Service, and Northumbria

Police will undergo assessment shortly with a view to awarding beacon

status later in the year. It is hoped that a second round of the

beacon awards scheme will be launched later in the year.


1. The£1m beacon awards challenge fund was launched in

June 1999, inviting police forces and their authorities to bid for up

to£100,000 to fund innovative projects designed to improve police


2. 31 forces submitted proposals which were judged by an

assessment panel which included representatives of the Association of

Police Authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers, Her

Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary and the Audit Commission.

3. The panel selected eleven police force projects to receive

beacon funding, of which seven have now been assessed as eligible for

beacon award status. These forces will now receive up to£6,000 to

disseminate details of their projects to other forces in England and

Wales, to encourage the spread of innovation and efficiency across

the service. Details of the successful projects follows below.

4. As part of its programme of modernising all public services,

the government is committed developing a properly funded,

well-equipped and modern police service. A key aspect of delivering

this modernisation programme is best value which, from 1 April 2000,

applies to all police, fire and local authorities in England and

Wales. The requirements of best value, which are contained in the

Local Government Act 1999, seek to ensure that public bodies deliver

their services by the most effective, economic and efficient means


Police Force Projects Awarded Beacon Status

Cleveland Constabulary

Team Performance Accountability Mechanism (TPAM)

Reporting System

The TPAM reporting system aims to improve the performance management

of officers in the Cleveland force. TPAM co-ordinates the

performance data of Base Command Units and individual officers from a

variety of sources and uses IT intranets to disseminate and compare

this data.

Streamlining the performance management system in this way has

reduced time spent on performance data collection and input by up to

75%, freeing staff and resources for other policing activities. It

has also enabled more accurate comparison of individual BCU and

officers' performance, leading to improved sharing of best practice

in policing work.

In making the beacon award, the panel noted that all forces could

benefit from adopting a similar approach to performance management.

Dyfed Powys Police

Missing Person Profiling

The Missing Person Profiling project has developed an enhanced

procedure for dealing with missing person enquiries, improving

recording procedures and integrating computer systems to deliver

accurate and timely data and profiles of missing persons.

The new procedure has led to a significant reduction in the time

taken to locate missing people, and reduced Dyfed Powys' #1 million

annual operational costs on missing person enquiries by 20%, which in

turn has freed operational resources for other front line policing


In making the Beacon award, the panel noted that other forces could

generate similar levels of savings by using the same system. It also

noted that linking neighbouring forces into the same system would

improve the efficiency of missing person enquiries which frequently

cross one or more force boundaries.

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Computerised System for Drug Seizures

Gloucestershire Constabulary has developed an integrated computerised

procedure for recording drug seizures in the county. By automating

the recording procedure, the force has been able to cut duplication

and paperwork, freeing up officers for other front-line policing


In making the Beacon award, the panel noted that the new system had

considerable potential for improving the quality of working life and

staff morale by reducing paperwork, and assisting intelligence-led

policing by giving a more accurate statistical picture of drug

seizures in the county.

Greater Manchester Police

Outsourcing of 'Homelink' Alarm Systems

Greater Manchester Police contracted National Monitoring to supply,

maintain, and monitor 'Homelink' alarm systems provided to vulnerable

citizens in the Greater Manchester area.

This resulted in systems being installed more quickly and

efficiently, with a consequent reduction in false activation by 50%.

The project freed officers previously engaged in installing the

equipment or responding to false activations for front line policing

duties and generated savings of up to #450 per day.

In making the Beacon award, the panel noted that the

project was fully in line with Best Value, providing an

improved service at less cost.

Kent Constabulary

Custodial Nursing

Kent Constabulary appointed qualified nurses to provide 24 hour

nursing cover for a number of its Custody Suites, in place of in

place of the current system where Forensic Medical Examiners would be

called out to attend to sick or injured prisoners and officers.

The scheme ensured that effective treatment could be

delivered more quickly, and at a reduced cost. Indeed, the

availability of immediate treatment saved a life during the trial

period, where a detainee who suffered a cardiac arrest was revived by

a custody nurse using a heart static device. The scheme delivered

other benefits by freeing Forensic Medical Examiners from custody

duties for their primary forensic work. The force intends to extend

the project across its area.

In making the beacon award, the panel noted that other

forces may be interested in adopting the scheme which was fully in

line with the best value regime, producing improved services for less


Suffolk Constabulary

Active Community Consultation Employing New Technology


Suffolk Constabulary established a project to improve consultation

arrangements with local communities, particularly with hard to reach

groups, by using an interactive voting system at focus groups within

their area.

It was found that the new system gave local communities improved

access to express their views about policing priorities, concerns and

levels of satisfaction. It also reduced the costs and bureaucracy

associated with paper-based surveys, allowing additional resources

to be spent on further consultation to ensure community views were

strongly represented in policing decisions.

In making the beacon award, the panel commended this innovative

approach to public consultation, which resulted in a better public

understanding of policing issues and vice versa.

West Midlands Police

Forensic-Led Intelligence System (FLINTS)

West Midlands Police developed a new software package to improve the

management and analysis of forensic data collected in the course of

investigations. Analysis of DNA and fingerprint data on FLINTS

greatly enhanced the analysis of forensic data, linking pieces of

evidence not previously thought to be related, an important step

forward in managing and detecting volume crime.

In making the beacon award, the panel noted that FLINTS was

ground-breaking work which could deliver significant benefits in

years to come, possibly as the basis for a national, or indeed

international, system.

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