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.
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
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
Team Performance Accountability Mechanism (TPAM)
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
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.
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 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
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
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