The UK’s police, ambulance and fire services would be able to respond “more swiftly and accurately to emergency calls” if they had better access to better information on callers and situations.
The promise comes from think tank Reform, in the shape of its new Frontline online: Smarter blue light services report (go here for the PDF).
The problem, it contends, is that our emergency services are “swimming” in data from the 10 million incidents emergency services they are called to respond to each year.
Smart technology such as electronic health records, videos from drones and augmented reality glasses could make a big contribution by empowering first respondents to assess the situation en route to incidents and most effectively decide on courses of action.
Mobile technology can then identify individuals through biometric data and provide links to follow-up services, it argues – pointing out that where technology has been introduced, it has been popular with staff.
One, Surrey and Sussex Police Forces, told the researchers that for “the vast majority [of police officers], you couldn’t prize it from their dead hands”.
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To help, the group thinks government should continue to be “radical” and identify opportunities to upgrade to 5G in the future to further improve the speed and quantity of data-sharing.
But to get there, basic data recording issues and risk-aversion to sharing data across services should be overcome, perhaps through using access keys that only allow emergency services to see permission data.
Cloud-based storage, used throughout the private sector and in some parts of the public sector, including some police forces, can provide security over these data.
In the future, radical new technology, such as blockchain, could enhance this security and accountability, it concludes – but It is crucial that emergency services have access to critical information at all times.
Reform describes itself as an independent, non-party think tank whose mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity.
The ‘smarter blue light’ series report was sponsored by Motorola Solutions.