June 3rd is set to see a big change in policing in Wrexham when decades old methods of policing will adjust to a more modern rota system.
The change appears simple, a move from five rotas to four, however it is described as a ‘huge change’ with lots of work to get it implemented with lots of corporate work across North Wales Police looking at various models of policing to pick the right way forward.
It is thought the new system will allow officers more recovery time rather than the current shift patterns, and therefore more fresher officers should be operational at any one time.
The change will mean more staffing availability, allowing the day to day work to be supplemented with more opportunity for proactive / reactive work on top.
Inspector Vic Powell told us: “It will mean more availability to meet demand, and will give us greater opportunities for better county wide problem solving, with better capability and options.”
Insp Powell called the change, which is part of North Wales Police’s Operational Improvement Programme, a ‘milestone’, pointing out that the old rota system was fit for purpose when it was introduced. However the world has since changed and continues to change.
He added: “This has been researched and has science behind it, and will help meet modern demand.
“It will mean we can focus on hot spots without it impacting on the day to day business.”
Talking about entire changes in organisations, we asked Insp Powell about the reality of another modern move, the mobile working push that has seen officers out and about with laptops and mobile phones.
Often large corporate moves to IT and mobile working can be plagued with issues or are more faff than historical ways of working, however it appears the move for local police has more than one benefit.
“We carry a pool of laptops here at base, not enough yet for one per person, but enough for each during the working day, but it will be rolled out further,” he explained.
“Routine administration work can be done when out and about, but confidential work can still be done in the station.”
Explaining how mobile working has converted previous dead time to productive time Insp Powell said: “Previously if we were on hospital watch at 3am, and you would have to have two officers there, that would be the job but now they are going with a laptop.
“While the prisoner is snoozing away in bed or with a doctor and we have to watch him, someone can be doing the work.”
Another example was given where a cannabis factory had been raided and officers were securing the building before it could be boarded up, previously that dead time now means reports are written up there and then freeing up time later on.
He said: “It is a huge improvement and streamlines work and with future software updates we will have the future capability to have digitally signed statements rather than printing them out and physically signing them.”
“It is nice to see we are embracing the digital world, and increasing our visibility.”
“It used to be boomerang policing, you go to a call, deal with it and record things in your pocket book, you then come back to the station and write it all up and then go back out, now we have the laptops so you are not coming back to write it all up.”
“We have a young workforce and it is natural for them to be using devices like these and asking ‘why cant we do that on a device?’ In terms of officer welfare it is great, it caters to the expectations of a young workforce, and the demand from the public.”
“We have some of the biggest data usage on the force as we are using the tethering for laptops through phones, as they are out there all the time, we are doing a huge amount of work in the community.”
The rota change, mobile working and two location changes will have all taken place inside six months with the move from the old police station tower to Crown Buildings – and shortly into the new town centre police station by the library – “You have to do all that and change things, but also do the day job!”
“It is all making a significant difference to how we do business.”
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