Tag Archives: Athena

Lancashire Constabulary live with first ‘stand alone’ version of CONNECT Platform

  • Constabulary aims to go ‘digital by default’ thanks to the platform
  • Five year contract for CONNECT Case and Custody, other modules to follow
  • Millions of files migrated in UK’s first full police back record conversion, cutting costs and reducing legacy system needs

Lancashire Constabulary has become the first force in the UK to go live with a force specific instance  of CONNECT, Northgate Public Services’ revolutionary software platform which is improving efficiency and transforming collaboration in policing.

Some twelve forces have now signed up for CONNECT, nine as part of the Athena multi-force collaboration and another three opting to use it like Lancashire Constabulary as a stand alone platform, combined representing about a quarter of the forces in England and Wales. 

As part of a five year contract the Constabulary will use CONNECT Case and Custody to go on a transformational journey and become ‘digital by default’.  A primary nominal record – a single person record with unique reference for use across the force – will be created, enabling police information to be digital from arrest through to trial, reducing back office costs and duplication, and creating an integrated, high quality platform for police and partners with a ‘single version of the truth’.

Superintendent Richard Robertshaw, Operational Lead at Lancashire Constabulary, said:

“CONNECT has transformed the way we work. The force has gone digital by default in terms of case files, with criminal justice becoming largely paperless overnight. In a very real way, officers on the front line can access information and provide accurate data in real time.

“We've taken the cloud version of the platform. This is one of the most important points for us, as it’s a secure environment and reduces the amount of support required for critical IT systems. The roadmap for the platform also enables our force to take all the data from the legacy systems so we no longer have to run them, further reducing our costs.”

The force is the first in the UK to migrate existing records to a new platform, with a full back record conversion for the previous seven years’ worth of files. This includes over a million legacy cases, five million associated files and 10,000 live case files.

The force has also signed up for CONNECT Crime and Intelligence modules which are due to go live in 2017. South Yorkshire and Humberside forces will be going live with CONNECT in the coming months.   

Ian Blackhurst, Executive Director of Solutions at Northgate Public Services said:

“This was a complex implementation to an aggressive timetable. Among other things, importing and integrating legacy system police files has never done before on this scale, let alone achieved so successfully.  We’re extremely pleased with how the delivery has gone. BT played a significant role in ensuring the project was a success.

“Delivering the CONNECT platform via cloud enables us to deliver a better services to the forces at a lower cost to them and enable the update of the platform to incorporate up to minute improvements. The CONNECT platform software is exactly the same software as used by other forces which enables improvements to be shared by all forces and as the data is open and consistent it will allow us to realise the vision of joined up policing platforms.

“We look forward to continue working with Lancashire Constabulary over the coming months and years as we work together on further implementations.”  


·         There are 12 forces in total using or signed up for the CONNECT platform. 

·         This is the equivalent to 45,000 police  officers and staff using CONNECT by the end of 2016. Or around a quarter of the forces in England and Wales. 



Industrialising collaboration for great local services

We need to industrialise collaboration and data sharing to sustain great local services

Sue Holloway, Director of Services Strategy

If anyone was questioning the government’s appetite for letting go, George Osborne answered it in the Spending Review when he announced a “devolution revolution”.

Rhetoric aside, being able to plan and deliver services close to the communities that use them offers huge benefits.

Local insight

Speak to a council or a housing association and it becomes immediately clear that they know their communities inside out – like which families are close to crisis or how many people are online.

Wolverhampton Homes, for example, realised that its plans to encourage more customers to use its online services by offering free wifi had little effect. So they started working with community partners promoting the general benefits of being online in the first place. It’s now getting easier to encourage their customers to use online services and they’ve set ambitious targets as a result.

It’s this level of insight that the government is relying on to sustain public services as austerity continues to bite. When you target services more effectively, efficiency is the knock-on benefit.

But the process of pooling insight and then acting on it can be exhausting. Putting people in the same offices can help, such as stationing a mental health nurse in a 999 call centre, but at some point we need collaboration to be automatic and second nature.

Collaboration by default

The police-led Athena programme is a model worth looking at, because it’s underpinned by a software platform that was designed for sharing.

Common data standards hold everything together but they don’t enforce the same structure or even the same technology – each police force can still use whatever software it wants to meet local needs.

Data sharing legislation, audit trails, even the requirements of the Victims Code are built in and automated, allowing information to be shared automatically with the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Court Service and, in future, victims themselves.

It frees up the huge amounts of time that get wasted on data entry and manual checks, and that’s before you factor in the benefit of knowing that the suspect you’re looking for is in custody in another force.

Productivity gains

As power continues to shift locally, we’ll need to industrialise collaboration so that it increases productivity to the same extent as it delivers better outcomes. Otherwise collaboration itself will become a burden that no amount of skilled professionals can overcome.