A problem solved was a problem shared!

When Sir Robert Peel set up the first state funded police service in London in 1829, its safe to say that he would have expected his ‘peelers’ to use gut instinct and experience to tackle the large volume of pick pocketing one of the most common types of crime at that time.

Fast forward to 2024 and the picture of crime all those years ago becomes nothing more than the storyline from a Charles Dickens novel compared to the  complexities and dangers we ask our brave officers to face today.

Now don’t get me wrong, gut instinct and experience is still what makes a great officer and always will, but these days we have a new tool to help tackle crime too. It doesn’t need to wear a uniform, juggle shift patterns with family life or miss out on an important social event due to having a rest day cancelled. This new crime fighting tool comes in the shape of data analytics and insight, and a team of crime fighting analysts who can help to predict crime or harm before it even occurs. In Sir Robert Peels day, this would be nothing more than the stuff of science fiction but in today’s modern world of policing, this science is very much alive and kicking.

It's why I am so passionate about supporting events like Data Talks. We need to recognise the benefits and impact that analysing the data our organisations hold can bring, and the results we can achieve if we work together.  At Essex Police we are already using analytics to identify serious crime hotspots and identify those at risk of knife crime in the county. We have used insight and worked with Essex County Council and the University of Essex to analyse the risk factors associated with domestic abuse perpetrators. The possibilities of how our data can help us make the tough decisions on where to focus our resources are truly endless.

Imagine a giant jigsaw puzzle with pictures of all the Essex organisations. Some of the puzzle has been completed but there is still more to finish. By combining our data and drawing on richer insight, we can tackle joint problems and start to complete the puzzle helping to directly benefit the same customer we all share - citizens of this county.

During Data Talks 4-6 March, I will be excited to hear from other partners about their own experiences on how data has helped to address issues, and from those who have combined their data with other partners to make an even bigger impact. Breaking down our organisational silos and having the confidence and trust to share data presents us all with a wealth of new insight that can help drive real change for the better, transforming our services and helping to directly benefit citizens.

This is the first event of its type in Essex, three days, 16 sessions and over 20 partners shining a spotlight on the opportunities, and it is important for a number of reasons – it will help to connect people, provide expertise, create spaces for collaboration and provide real world accounts of data in action.

Beyond the Data Talks event I will continue in my own personal drive to help create a county that encourages a positive data culture and that uses analytics to inform and shape our decisions and achieve real and lasting change.

Remember a problem solved often starts with a problem that was once shared, so clear your diary for the Data Talks event 4-6 March 2024, and take up the opportunity that Sir Robert Peel could only ever have dreamed of.  Take a look through the exciting programme and register for the sessions you want to attend. You will be spoilt for choice!


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