Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Enabling secure cloud based digital justice with Kent Police to improve victim experiences

November 7, 2016

This blog was originally posted on Public Sector Executive

‘Charity begins at home and justice begins next door’, Charles Dickens famously wrote in Martin Chuzzlewit. Nothing like a bit of sobering Victorian social commentary to make a point. We often believe that matters of criminal justice and law are something that happen to other people. Those ‘next door’ as Dickens puts it. Yet if we or any of those we love are personally impacted by crime, the workings of our policing and related systems then become of paramount importance.

At what is often an anxious and highly sensitive personal time, it is essential that contact with the criminal justice system, from the police station to the court room is as seamless and stress-free as possible. In our increasingly digitised world, the way the systems and processes of our law enforcement bodies are equipped can dictate, even define a victim’s experience. As such, the technology powering our police and criminal justice systems is undergoing a truly digital transformation.

The digital blue line

Digitising law enforcement requires a robust and secure network to keep the vital fabric of those systems running smoothly. We have been a major provider of networking and collaboration solutions to the UK police and justice system for over 20 years. The majority of UK police forces use Cisco as their secure network platform of choice. As does the professional courts user WIFI network. We can rightfully argue our place as a key enabler of the digital justice system in England and Wales.

Connecting Courts

Over the past 12 months, we have been working closely with the team at Kent Police on an transformational project to digitise policing and justice in the area. The Kent force are leading the way with their use of collaboration tools to support traditional court sessions and improve victim experiences. By essentially creating a ‘Justice Cloud’, the team use Cisco WebEx Meeting Center at its core.justice1

Vulnerable witnesses can avoid the distress of being face-to-face with defendants in court, connecting instead via a laptop or tablet device from home. Their teams invite required attendees to attend a secure virtual court hearing in a personalised meeting room and tightly control the situation throughout the session using the full range of meeting controls. The same tools are also being used to save valuable police time, removing the need to travel long distances for a 10-minute court appearance.

Swift justice

Earlier this year, Kent Police extended their collaboration model by piloting 7-day remand courts. The justice team in-region can now connect hearings from holding cells all over the county into a single courtroom environment. Balancing workflow, whist achieving much quicker and more efficient justice. Gone are the days of detaining a person from Friday evening, holding them in a cell over the weekend until their remand case could be heard on a Monday morning. So-called ‘Swifter Justice’ Saturday morning hearings are now seen as the way forward.

Continuing collaboration

Now that numerous virtual court trials and remand hearings have taken place, the Kent force are exploring how the WebEx collaboration cloud can be used to continue improving victim experiences and drive further speed and efficiency into the justice system. All underpinned by ease of access and connectivity, tight access controls and the security offered by the platform.

Better experience outcomes for victims and greater efficiencies for the processes, time and workstream management of the police are a win-win scenario for all involved. We believe there has never been a better time to drive digitisation of the UK criminal justice sector.

See digital transformation in action with practical, working examples of connected policing and better justice experiences with these Case Studies and Resources.

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