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#WeAre50 | Policing the digital age – Celebrating technological advancements

Published on | #WeAre50, General

We are two months into our 50th anniversary of West Midlands Police. Throughout February, we will be discussing how technology has changed over 50 years and how it has impacted the way we police today.

From whistles and police boxes, to contact centres and mobility devices, the world of policing and crime looks very different now compared to 1974. Instead of only having the option to walk into a police station, or call from a landline phone, you can now contact us from any location at any time of the day. 

early force contact centre

We have multiple different ways for you to contact us including phone, online, Live Chat, WM Now and social media. Your local officers can now share updates on arrests, operations, and neighbourhood policing in live time across social platforms. We have increased our video content to help provide crime prevention advice and show how our officers are acting on issues that matter to you. 

To add, we now have video call capability that allows us to see what the caller sees, and know exactly where they are. If required, the call taker will send a link to your phone where you can upload files, images, and additional information to help us build a better understanding of the incident. 

One of the most notable transformations in policing is the modernisation of our emergency response systems and call handling centres. 

With the integration of cutting-edge technology, we have created a streamlined process that has significantly reduced response times to 101 and 999 calls. Our ability to record and manage more information on our systems ensures timely assistance to those in need and deployment of specialist resources where required.

In February half term we ran a call-handling competition at the Museum for children of all ages. Participants had to answer a ‘live’ call about a crime in progress and ask the right questions to best equip response officers to attend the incident.

The visitor who noted down the most detail in the quickest time was added to the leader board to win a prize.

We hope this activity helped young people understand what information they need to provide when calling the police in an emergency and make them feel more confident reporting crime in the future. 

volunteer helping child complete force contact challenge

Assistant Chief Constable, Matt Welsted, said: “50 years on, we have improved so much about the service we provide to the people of the West Midlands at the times they need us most.

“Not only do we answer more calls quicker than at any time in our history, but the choices we provide through online services, video calls and now social media platforms, we truly are a modern service to be proud of.  

“The sophistication of how we understand what people need and how best we can help them is unrecognisable compared to 50 years ago and is getting better all the time. 

“The world has changed so much in 50 years and the rate of change is ever increasing, image where we will be in 50 years from now.”

We look forward to welcoming you to the Lock-up soon!