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Commissioner funds innovative video interview solution


Humberside Police are the first force in the country to use a new system to enable victims of crime to be interviewed via video link, following funding from Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter.

Recognising the challenging time faced with the current pandemic but also ensuring investigations are carried out as comprehensively as possible, the force have launched a virtual video appointment system that allows them to communicate directly with victims and witnesses of crimes without requiring physical contact.

The innovative digital solution, One Consultation powered by Modality, allows officers the ability to schedule secure video appointments with members of the public who have either been a victim of crime or who may have been a witness to an incident, and who could provide important pieces of information for ongoing investigations or appeals.

The new system allows officers to collate the information needed to continue progressing investigations, to build strong evidential cases and go on to secure successful prosecutions at court, whilst still keeping people safe through social distancing.

Deputy Chief Constable Chris Rowley said: “Our new video consultation system is a great digital step forward for the force throughout the pandemic, as our focus remains on keeping the public within our area safe and this gives us the means to do so.

“We are the first and only force nationally to be using this system, plus it’s operational 24/7 and applies across the whole of the Humberside Police force area. It’s accessible through the person’s chosen smart phone, PC or tablet, and browsers Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge and doesn’t require the public to download any new software.

“It works by the control room sending members of the public invitations to join a scheduled video call with the relevant officer via their default device and browser, where they can enter their name and incident number if applicable.

“The officer then admits the member of the public into a secure and private room where the video call will take place. We are continuing to practice the same level of risk assessment, no data is stored anywhere and the system doesn’t record any video or audio, so members of the public can feel reassured of their safety.

“Those who have been a victim or witness to crime in many cases, have already been through a tremendous ordeal and understandably given the current pandemic situation, will be anxious and concerned.

“The video system will hopefully ease any worries around giving statements by being able to provide them in a safe, virtual environment, and I hope that this innovative step forward does lead by example and promotes that it is possible to stay well-connected with others whilst practising social distancing.”

Funding for the system came from the Office of Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter, who said: “I am supporting technological innovation in the Force to enable it to become more efficient and effective. That support is illustrating its worth now, during this crisis, when it is vital that Humberside Police can adapt their response to continue to conduct thorough investigations and support victims and witnesses of crime, ensuring safety for all.

“This latest development shows once again that the force are leading the way nationally in contact with the public and I will monitor their progress through the current pandemic and beyond.”    

Paul Morgan, Account Director at platform provider, Modality said: “Working with the team at Humberside Police has been a fantastic opportunity to see police officers adjusting how they work to continue to deliver key services via new technology during the current UK-wide lockdown. We're proud to be playing a small part, enabling them to extend the reach of those services even further by using simple but secure video consultation technology via Microsoft Office365.”

Posted on Thursday 16th April 2020