Publication Digital Justice 14 March, 2018

Frontline online. Smarter blue light services

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'Frontline online. Smarter blue light services' finds that police, ambulance and fire services can respond more swiftly and accurately to emergency calls with access to better information on callers and situations. This paper is sponsored by Motorola Solutions.

Emergency services are swimming in data from the 10 million incidents emergency services respond to each year. Smart technology, such as electronic health records, videos from drones and augmented reality glasses, can empower first respondents to assess the situation en route to incidents and most effectively decide on courses of action. Mobile technology can then identify individuals through biometric data and provide links to follow-up services.

Where technology has been introduced, it has been popular with staff. Surrey and Sussex Police Forces argue that for “the vast majority [of police officers], you couldn’t prize it from their dead hands.”

The Government has the right ambition to upgrade its IT infrastructure, by moving to a 4G network, to allow the sharing of multimedia data. Government should continue to be radical and identify opportunities to upgrade to 5G in the future to further improve the speed and quantity of data-sharing. It is crucial, however, that emergency services have access to critical information at all times.

Better collaboration over sharing data is essential to exploit new technology. Basic data recording issues and risk-aversion to sharing data across services should be overcome through using access keys that only allow emergency services to see permission data. Cloud-based storage, used throughout the private sector and in some parts of the public sector, including some police forces, can provide security over these data. In the future, radical new technology, such as blockchain, could enhance this security and accountability.

Key takeaways

  • Technology offers the opportunity to deliver more collaborative, swifter and more effective emergency services. Mobile technology can be used to share information early, help responders understand the situation on the ground, identify individuals involved, and provide accurate follow-up services after the incident.
  • Getting the most from cutting-edge technology demands better handling of data. As data quantities expand, harnessing this information smartly and securely requires better data sharing between emergency services.
  • Emergency services must be able to access information at all times. Securing full network coverage across the country that provides real-time information would allow professionals to have instant access to a world of information and guidance.