I bumped into my local community support officers as I was in the park last week and saw that she and her colleague were chasing local youths who were sporting graffiti spray cans on foot. In a good old-fashioned bobby-on-the-beat kind of a way, the two officers were armed with nothing more technically advanced than a truncheon, a walkie-talkie and pair of trusty Doctor Martin’s.
Now while there’s still a place for a pair of DM’s and a gruffly bellowed, “Oi! You there!” – there’s obviously a heavy degree of IT penetration back at head office and at Scotland Yard itself. So what do the boys in blue use to beef up their browsing?
Specialised police simulation software with additional recent forensic modules are being used in much the same way that a commercial entity might deploy business process improvement systems to steer the direction of the firm’s activities.
Gartner says that simulation has been ranked as one of the top 10 most important strategic technologies for 2010 and companies in this space include Lanner, a business process improvement company that this week announced a £3 million new investment deal with NVM Private Equity (NVM).
Lanner Group’s Andrew Aitken has explained that police forensics is close to process management in that both can be approached scientifically. He also said that both experience fluctuating levels of resources depending upon when they are called upon, which makes it harder to identify and manage bottlenecks. “Frankly, experience based ‘intuition' can often be wrong. We've seen many forces simply throw resources at the problem, rather than identifying the issues first,” said Aitken.
Lanner also works in pharmaceutical production modeling and the company claims that its Java simulation engine allows its offering to integrate into third party software products.
I can’t normally do acquisition or investment stories as it really doesn’t fit the software application development mould. But I think one is interesting as it details work that most of us probably don’t know about and it also dovetails with Lanner’s work to produce ‘SWIM' (Scientific Support Work Improvement Model), which was developed in close collaboration with the Home Office Police Standard Unit (PSU).
Oh - and by the way, sorry about the cheesy pun headline everyone!