Police Dynamic Resource Management
Thorcom and Northgate partner to deliver Police DRM solution
Northgate Public Services uses Thorcom's vehicle and resource location solution to deliver the mobile resource element of Demand Resource Management for UK Police forces to improve operational efficiency, accountability and visibility of policing and deliver on pledges made by PCCs to improve services and control costs.
The Police Services face a challenge to achieve significant cost savings while making best use of their resources through improved efficiency and gains in productivity.
Dynamic Resource Management
Dynamic Resource Management allows an organisation to improve operational responsiveness through asset location, driver identification and status and vehicle telemetry to achieve greater utilisation of resources.
The mobile information is passed in real-time over a private and encrypted Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) connection via resilient Thorcom DRM Gateways placed at the Force communication centre, to the Northgate CONNECT:DRM solution.
This information is used to achieve faster response times and make efficiency savings by ensuring the right resources are in the right place at the right time. As a result, police forces are able to deliver greater public confidence and reduce crimes and incidents by increasing police patrol activity in line with neighbourhood policing priorities, and working towards delivery of community pledges.
Using the solution, Local Policing managers can match resources to demand more dynamically and accurately. This can be completed in near real-time and also retrospectively as required. As well as delivering immediate savings is through improved fleet management, a wide range of cashable savings can be delivered in the medium and longer-term through improved utilisation of operational resources.
The Thorcom part of the solution comprises two main components, vehicle side equipment and a communications service including a central communications gateway cluster.
A choice of vehicle equipment is available from Thorcom based on the Aplicom A-series vehicle telemetry units with Thorcom DRM solution software and configuration included. This choice allows users to prioritise between a cost-effective Fleet Management focused approach, or to add additional telematics and Incident Data Recording (IDR) facilities for a complete DRM solution, or to mix between the two according to fleet requirements. The two primary choices are:
- Aplicom A9. Includes Automatic Resource Location (ARL), basic Driver ID, OBD-II and Basic Telemetry, with built-in power management and GPS and WWAN antennas
- Aplicom A11, Includes all the features of the A9, and adds more Driver ID options, second OBD-II port, advanced telemetry and IDR
Either option can be installed by the Force's own fleet technicians, or by Thorcom specialists, and can be supplied with internal or external antennas, and can be used with 12V or 24V vehicle power. The devices are provided with a managed SIM as part of a hosted solution, or SIM free, to allow the Force to provide its own airtime and hosting.
Thorcom provides a complete WWAN termination capability, either self-hosted within the Force’s own IT facilities, or as a hosted solution using Thorcom or Northgate’s own hosting facilities, or a third party hosting service. Built around the Thorcom DRM gateway, this provides the following features:
- Terminates and manages the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) link via an Access Point Name (APN)
- Provides data interfaces between the MNO and Northgate DRM Connect
- Guaranteed High Availability using multiple levels of resilience and automatic failover
- Supports over-air encryption
- Permits managed Over the Air updates to the vehicle fleet equipment
Thorcom's solution provides:
- Driver identification with the ability to use the same RFID card as used by officers for access control and warrant card
- High frequency and sub 5 metre real-time location tracking
- Configurable Status buttons for, e.g. Arrived Scene, Depart Scene, IDR Activation, Emergency or Under Duress
- Driver behaviour monitoring, including rapid acceleration and harsh braking
- Vehicle telemetry, upto 12 inputs for, e.g. Blue Lights, Siren, Indicators, Arrival Lights, Gun Safe Access, Hand-brake, Seatbelt and others
- Vehcile fault monitoring using OBD-II
- Incident Data Recorder (IDR)
Driver identification is achieved using MIFARE® compatible RFID cards - these same RFID card can be used for staff identification, access control and warrant card leading to "one card fits all" and towards "single sign on".
On entry to a vehicle an audible alert tone sounds until the driver identifies him/her self by "swiping in".
The Thorcom supplied locator and telemetry unit installed in the vehicle implements GPS based vehicle tracking with an intelligent rules-based algorithm that provides a high location update rate to control while remaining cost effective. Resource location updates include position, speed, heading and vehicle telemetry in near real-time allowing control to see where resources are, who they are and what they are doing.
Simple Status Service
A simple dashboard mounted keypad and LED unit provides for simple status codes to be keyed that include:
- Mobile to Incident
- On scene
- Clear scene
- Emergency/under duress
Driver behaviour monitoring
The driver behaviour monitoring sub-system employs GPS and accelerometer information to detect and report instances of:
- rapid acceleration
- harsh braking and cornering
- high G-force events
and other anomolies that are collated and processed at control to determine if the use of the vehicle was appropriate, improve accountability and reduce unnecessary vehicle wear, damage and collisions.
Vehicle telemetry comprises of digital inputs that reports use of blue lights, red (arrival) lights and other status inputs which may include headlights, brake lights, doors open, gun safe open, etc.
Vehicle telemetry can connect to the ODB-II (CANbus) interface monitor engine fault codes, vehicle fault codes, fuel level and odometer reading (where available).
Thorcom is able to supply additional monitoring of CANbus based vehicle telemetry via a custom protocol converter/adapter where needed.
Vehicle mileage, fuel and fault monitoring
The locator unit connects via CANbus (OBD-II) to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and monitors vehicle mileage, fuel level and diagnostic fault codes and reports them to control in near real-time. This allows data to be exported to fleet management systems and vehicles with serious faults to be identified and taken out of operational use.
Incident Data Recorder (IDR)
The Incident Data Recorder (IDR) function continuously monitors speed and acceleration in 3-axiz (X, Y, Z) and triggers a recoding event if a predetermined threshold is exceeded.
The IDR function captures 30 seconds of data that incorporates:
- Acceleration in 3-axis ±16g with 16-bit resolution and 100Hz sample rate
- Digital telemetry inputs from vehicle (brake lights, head lights, indicators, slue lights, red lights etc.) with 10Hz sample rate
- GPS latitude, longitude, speed and direction with 1Hz sample rate
as well as Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and calibration data.
The IDR data is stored in an encrypted a secure file on the unit that can be transferred via a cable to a laptop for decryption and analysis. In addition IDR files can be automatically uploaded over-the-air to the Thorcom/Northgate server to avoid the need for a visit to a vehicle after an IDR activation event.