The operational duties of a Police force cover a vast range of disciplines from preserving law and order to protecting life and property, preventing crimes from being committed and bringing offenders to justice. This incredibly complex web of police work has one common denominator that is pivotal for all – accurate location data.
A precise, authoritative geospatial reference is vital in every aspect of law enforcement, whether it’s identifying the address of a property, the location of a bus stop or alleyway, or a specific point on a long road. To maximise efficiency across the force, these locations need an anchor to ensure consistency and accuracy. As a result, we’re seeing more and more Police forces, as well as other emergency services, using the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) to underpin their address data (or in the case of streets, the Unique Street Reference Number – USRN).
Complementing official UPRNs
Since 2016, Avon and Somerset Police have been using our AddressBase Premium solution, Bluelight, to enable force-wide access to the most accurate address dataset available, complete with UPRNs and USRNs. More comprehensive than ever, Bluelight now allows forces to create their own locations where these are missing from AddressBase Premium. These could be alleyways, private unrecorded roads or a specific corner of a park. These would only be held in the local gazetteer, and would have their own locally allocated UPRNs. Being able to add local data in this way makes it quicker and easier to pinpoint the exact location of an incident, on the occasions the data’s not held in AddressBase Premium. In these circumstances, the result is improved response times with the potential to better safeguard the public.
Using the UPRN as the defining location, has increased efficiency for Avon and Somerset Police saving staff time and therefore money. It has enabled faster response times, as well as ensuring accurate record keeping on the addresses of victims and witnesses, or suspects and offenders. The exact location of a crime has been used to verify alibis, in addition to helping to define crime prevention policies.
‘Location is at the heart of everything we do. By using an authoritative and referenced address gazetteer with UPRNs, we are more efficient and effective in serving our community. The Bluelight gazetteer enables us to link all disparate aspects of our work that relate to a specific address. It also allows us to record any location intelligence, such as risk data, against a location, so it can be shared with the relevant teams and systems.’ Olivia Powell, GIS Manager at Avon & Somerset Police.
‘More than half GB’s Police forces are using Bluelight to deliver AddressBase Premium and the UPRNs across their organisations. Not only does this increase the efficiency of identifying the correct address and mobilising teams to an incident more speedily, it also enables forces to share information with each other, as well as with other emergency services where appropriate, in the knowledge the data is authoritatively referenced.’ Dinesh Thanigasalam, Commercial Director, Aligned Assets.
The public sector standard
The Open Standards Board, via Government Digital Service (GDS), has mandated that from 1 July 2020, the UPRN and USRN are the public sector standard for referencing and sharing property and street data. This will not only ensure accuracy and consistency across the whole of the public sector, it will also allow the different agencies to collaborate efficiently to provide the public with services where address data is key.
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