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Communications Data Unit keeps police officers informed and residents safe


16 January 2023

The Single Point of Contact (SPoC) Communications Data Unit, a new collaboration by North Wales Police and Cheshire Constabulary, has been established, providing communications data to both forces on a 24/7 rota in the fight against crime.

A total of 12 dedicated staff are now able to process and distribute key information to Police Officers out on the road and in the community in a more efficient manner.

Communications data (CD) is key to crime investigations. It enables police to locate and safeguard vulnerable high-risk missing persons, as well as assist people experiencing crime in action. Examples of CD that can be shared is information on the geographical location of a mobile device, as well as call data records and information from media platforms/messaging applications.

SPoC Communications Data Unit Manager Mark Davies stated that a collaborative approach with Cheshire Constabulary allows each Force to expand the capability of the existing Unit and significantly improve the welfare and wellbeing of staff.

Prior to the collaboration the staff within the Unit would provide 24/7 cover but on an on-call basis, providing emergency cover as part of a rota outside of ‘standard’ office hours. 

The demand for CD requests has increased since the Unit’s implementation, given that most crimes investigated by North Wales Police involve the collation of digital data, which is used by the Force to prove or disprove the offence, or corroborate evidence and witness accounts.

The Unit has directly contributed to the safeguarding of vulnerable persons, including several children at risk of sexual and criminal exploitation.

North Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin stated: “From my first day in office as Police & Crime Commissioner, I have placed an emphasis on how technology can lead the way in preventing crime and making our streets safer.

“My Police and Crime Plan outlines how I will champion technology solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of police officers and staff, and this is just one reason why I am so pleased to see that the Unit is already such a success.

“There is a duty for the Force as an employer to protect our staff’s wellbeing and I’m pleased to see how the new Unit has also benefitted staff in reducing their workload and improving their productivity.

“I’d like to thank all those within North Wales Police involved with the project for successfully launching the Unit. I would also like to thank colleagues in Cheshire Constabulary for their hard work, which demonstrates once again the co-operation with neighbouring forces that is so key to fighting crime and protecting people.”

SPoC Communications Data Unit Manager Mark Davies said: “We have seen the benefit already with the around-the-clock working allowing for requests to be dealt with quickly, backlogs to be reduced, for data to be obtained and analysed quicker.

“Although the volume of applications has increased following the collaboration, our ability to service the demand has been enhanced which means the Unit carries little to no backlog.

“The feedback so far has been extremely positive from staff and the wider Force. Unit staff no longer work in isolation, juggling multiple high-risk jobs. They can share demand, take breaks and welfare has improved measurably.”

Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said: "I'd like to thank everyone involved in launching the new unit, this demonstrates how important the partnerships are between neighbouring forces.

"A priority in my Police and Crime Plan for Cheshire is to modernise our police service, and this technology will not only benefit our officers and staff but the public we serve too. 

"I'm pleased to hear how positively the system has already been received within both forces and I'm confident its benefits will continue to be felt in both Cheshire and North Wales."