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West Yorkshire Police – a technology partnership for improvement

England’s Third largest Police Force

When a police force as big as West Yorkshire (the third largest in England) with over 1000 vehicles, decided in 2009 to adopt a ‘hi Tec’ approach to it driver training requirement, it decide to seek advice from the UK’s acknowledged leader in the field of driver behaviour – Cranfield University.

The recommendation of Cranfield was to approach Airmax as the only UK Company with a capability to deliver remote vehicle Canbus data which could be used for extensive driver profiling. Here the initial remit was to detect driving styles for police drivers that indicated a general trend which indicated an increased risk of vehicle incidents within the West Yorks fleet and as a result have the opportunity to offer additional driver training.

The Airmax system performance within this early phase was impressive to the point that the Operational side of the West Yorks force began to take an interest in the possibilities for detailed fleet management that the system offered way beyond the everyday level of GPS vehicle location that was then considered to be the defining feature of ‘telematics’. At this stage, and aware that the relationship between West Yorks and Airmax was significantly beyond that of ‘supplier and customer’, a partnership agreement was reached whereby the two organisations would work together to define and produce a working system geared to the requirements of an ‘on the ground’ operational police force.

 

Extensive Driver Profiling Reports

One of the first requirements was to negate the perennial problem experienced by all police forces, that of ‘who was driving’, given the inefficiencies of filling in paper log books and mindful of the fact that the Airmax system would be delivering extensive driver profiling reports – all of which mandates total accuracy in respect of a drivers identity. The introduction of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enabled warrant cards within West Yorks was an opportunity used by Airmax for the design and implementation of vehicle based driver ID which fulfilled the dual roles of identifying the driver and logging the subsequent journey against them, and (to ensure compliance with the ID requirement) removing the immobiliser that was built into the system and without which the vehicle would not start.

With the progressive rollout of the system over some five years the ‘report suite’ available has been progressively extended and enhanced to encompass a progressive police requirement. In essence based on journey and event data or Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) the Airmax system provides detailed ‘drill down’ reports which cover every detail of every journey and the events that occur during the journey.

Blues & Two’s

Typical of these enhancements are the ‘blues & two’s’ reports all of which have always given time and location for on/off together with vehicle speed, revs, acceleration and braking but initially only indicated a single ‘blue light’ configuration. This has now been enhanced to indicate in detail which ‘blue light’ mode the vehicle is operating i.e.  All blues /Front blues/Rear blues/Rear reds/Sire, all of which are transmitted to a secure server in real time.

Significant within this area are the statistics related to ‘own fleet’ accidents where an ongoing reduction of 34 % has been calculated as a constant as each new operational division is installed. In addition to the substantial savings from accident reduction WYP is now gaining sufficient data from other aspects of the system to be able to calculate where actual and potential cost reductions are possible. At the top of the list is fuel saving.

 

 

This is now being experienced as a result of modified driver style brought about by virtue of KPI trigger points such as over revving  (typically set at 3500 rpm on WYP diesel vehicles), harsh acceleration and braking (erratic driving is notorious for excessive fuel use) and ‘long idling’ (typically set to 5 minutes). The combination of these customer configurable KPI’s is now indicating reduced fuel use on a comparative basis against ‘pre-install’ of the system. One emerging aspect of the ability to detect over revving has been the potential savings related to mechanical failure of gear boxes and the resulting administrative nightmare of warranty claims. 

Grand Plan Level

On a ‘grand plan’ level the system allows the actual use of vehicles to be queried to ascertain the overall vehicle usage pattern on whole fleet, division and individual vehicle level. Again the use of customer configurable parameters allows operational vehicles that are not being used to be identified against specific parameters such as ‘not used for more than 3 days or 1 week’ (as an example). The consequence and resulting cost savings here being that the fleet can be trimmed down to a more ‘lean and mean’ profile with under used vehicles being taken ‘off fleet’.

Beyond the savings within the fleet on a tangible vehicle/fuel/mechanical failure level, one major area of gain for the Force has been the investigation of ‘incidents’. Previously, this post investigation of incidents was potentially ‘administratively challenging’. The implementation of a total vehicle CANbus, driver RFID and GPS (now being upgraded with full crash analysis) data has transformed a previously lengthy and in some cases inconclusive exercise into what was described as ‘a matter of minutes’ by a WYP Officer.

Beyond the benefits of the current implementation, Airmax is working with WYP on research aimed at defining the algorithms which will actually indicate unsafe driving in a ‘normal’ everyday, non blue light mode. The ultimate benefit here being that the system will flag up automatically as soon as the ‘algorithm’ threshold is reached, thus allowing additional driver training to be implemented. In fact a quantum leap over the original premise which first saw the partnering of Airmax and West Yorkshire Police.

Footnote: As a result of the Partnership between Airmax and West Yorkshire Police, Airmax was invited by the ACPO/ITS team to become part of the Home Office initiated ‘One Box/DVDMS’ programme. This led to a partnership between Airmax and Vauxhall Special Vehicles (suppliers of UK police vehicles) and resulted in Airmax being part of the winning CAST (Future UK Police Vehicle) consortium in early 2013.

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