Case study: North Wales Police

Case study: North Wales Police

A network upgrade enabled North Wales Police to cut costs and improve its green credentials

North Wales Police (NWP) has upgraded its network to slash IT costs, improve force efficiency, underpin mobile working and cut carbon emissions.

The force has nearly completed its move to an IP communications infrastructure with supplier Affiniti and is realising the benefits of videoconferencing and using XML applications on IP phones.

Ian Davies, projects and customer services manager for NWP, says the organisation’s IT strategy is for true mobility and self-service for all officers and staff.

“We have a diverse terrain and want to cut inefficient travel as much as possible,” he says. “Last year BT’s pricing structure for pure IP telephony changed, which enabled us to implement Cisco-based IP telephony in a cost-neutral exercise as it became £128,000 cheaper to do so.”

The price reduction allowed NWP to replace its existing network infrastructure and use point-to-point Ethernet extension services to increase bandwidth.

“All our 75 stations now have a minimum of a 10Mbit/s connection speed and our headquarters and three regional offices can have a bandwidth of 100Mbit/s which means we have enormous capability for voice and data services,” says Davies.

The force now uses IP phones that can run internet-based software and IP videoconferencing which will be rolled out to every site over the next two months following a successful pilot.

“Instead of a two-hour return journey to meet a lawyer to advise on whether to continue with a prosecution, the police officer can use IP videoconferencing, saving duty time, force time, wear on tyres and petrol,” says Davies.

“Videoconferencing using analogue and an ISDN line was difficult to use and not a viable option, but with IP-based telephony you simply press an extension number. It also means we can reduce emissions from vehicles in wasted journeys and meet our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2015.”

Another benefit is that officers and staff can access email, the intranet and the records management system via IP phones that run XML applications.

“We had more PCs and laptops than people on our asset register last year, but now phones can run major applications, people can do 50 per cent of their work using their phone and we are aiming to reduce our computer requirement by 25 per cent,” says Davies.

Extension mobility on the phones allows officers to log onto any phone with their collar number and a password so their download settings and applications follow them.

“Officers can work from about five stations and this enhances their mobility. Also their phones can send voicemails as email to their BlackBerrys,” says Davies.

“We have more officers on the beat and improved productivity, as well as cashable savings because of the network upgrade.”