17 July 2020

Keeping the Welsh public safe with PSBA’s network

The public in Wales rely on the emergency services to keep them as safe as possible. Time is frequently of the essence, so systems need to be in place behind the scenes to allow emergency services to do their job as efficiently as possible.

The challenge of ensuring that everything runs smoothly falls to the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation (PSBA), which is Welsh Government-funded and delivered by BT.

PSBA has supported Dyfed-Powys Police (DPP) with network solutions for over a decade, providing connectivity services to enable DPP to serve Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, the largest police force area in England and Wales.

Serving more than half a million people, it is imperative DPP is able to respond to the range of enquiries and reported incidents it receives professionally, and as quickly as possible. With 1,800 full-time officers, 97 Specialist Constables and 151 Police Community Support Officers, DPP covers the largest police force area in England and Wales, so an efficient connectivity system is vital to serve more than 500,000 people, a figure which rises significantly as more and more tourists descend to Wales’s beauty spot each year.

PSBA’s services enables DPP to forge cost-effective links with communities and localities that other providers can’t reach. PSBA has been a crucial enabler: it provides connectivity services into third party partners including hospitals and schools.

However, as technology trends began shifting towards more body-worn video and better CCTV, DPP was finding bandwidth speeds a barrier. Upload speeds suffered, meaning that officers had to spend longer behind desks as a result of poor upload speeds rather than being where they needed to be: out in the community. CCTV was also holding back the force; the absence of a system meant that DPP wasn’t able to bring real-time CCTV back to the monitoring station in the control room.

New innovations in emergency response

Data and technology have an increasingly important role in improving emergency response. By future proofing network capacity, PSBA has enabled DPP to stay ahead of changes in policing in a cost effective and sustainable way.

PSBA implemented resilient, cost effective and efficient mechanisms for delivering ICT services in a constantly evolving environment. The solution helped address DPP’s immediate challenges as well as future proofing the network. A new CCTV system provided a reliable medium for monitoring local communities in real time to keep them safe, and officers were also able to download high quality images and transfer them to the station’s control centre in real time.

An investment in Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras also supported DPP’s digitalisation strategy. Officers can now record exceptional quality video on their device and upload it onto a cloud-hosted platform once they return to their station.

With bandwidth restraints eliminated, PSBA has supported DPP to upload high quality images and video from their BWV cameras and CCTV within seconds. Having quick, reliable access to video evidence has led to a reduction in disputes, helping to reduce delays across the criminal justice system.

The force's senior ICT operational manager, Mark Hall, said investment in upgrading its core network had improved its policing capability.

"When our community needs us, we can respond quickly and efficiently knowing we have the tools our officers need to get the job done in an ever-evolving environment," he said. "Working with PSBA is critical – it’s what will enable our officers to connect securely, and reliably, to our network while away from HQ/stations."

For more information, visit the PSBA website.

Photo: Dyfed-Powys Police HQ - Nigel Davies

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