‘Stop and search’ has taken on new meaning at South Yorkshire Police, as the force implements new methods to improve its crime fighting capabilities, and the emphasis is on search.
Using search technology from Autonomy, South Yorkshire Police has helped improve its officers’ ability to find potentially relevant information from across its range of information management systems.
Like many other organisations, South Yorkshire Police had been hamstrung by the build up of information silos, making it difficult to find data. Now, any update to its application databases is replicated in a single, read-only search database, meaning officers can quickly search through the force’s entire knowledge base for vital clues, or connections.
The search function can even suggest information that might be associated with whatever the officer is looking at, opening up new avenues of investigation. For instance, if there are two people with seemingly different names but matching identifiers, could they be using an alias?
And Autonomy’s technology is set to become a more active participant in its crime fighting.
"We are testing a system that looks for correlations in data as it is submitted,” says David Rock Evans, head of information systems at South Yorkshire Police. “So if there are a number of complaints of a particular kind of burglary in an area, the system will flag it up.”
As search technology begins to ‘understand’ meaning, it becomes less of a passive process and more a decision making aid. And as business intelligence becomes more operational in its application, search may well give many criminals a run for their money.