Better service in the Voorkempen Police District due to digitization

Published on 01/12/2020 in Customer Stories

Better service in the Voorkempen Police District due to digitization

Voorkempen Police District’s digital strategy provides better service. Inspectors have faster access to the right information and it is always available. “That way we make significant gains in efficiency,” said Chief of Police Geert Smet.

Four years ago, the Voorkempen Police District's central precinct relocated to a former mill on the Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten Canal. At the same time, that opened up all kinds of avenues to optimize the whole IT environment as well. The building was connected to fiber. In addition, new servers with virtualized applications, new PCs and printers, IP telephony, indoor coverage for 4G and the Astrid emergency services network, camera surveillance, access control with badge readers, etc. formed part of the new package.

The Voorkempen Police District chose to make the most of digitization. “We make significant gains in efficiency by working digitally,” said Chief of Police Geert Smet. “Digital applications facilitate faster availability of information, greater transparency, a lower margin of error – and, therefore, better service on behalf of citizens.” Police district employees – the field inspectors and civilian staff – have constant access via a smartphone or tablet to the digital working environment.

Secure access to all police apps

The mobile devices – obviously equipped with the essential security – provide field inspectors with access to all the required information and Focus platform applications. “This platform was tailor-made for the integrated police,” said IT Project Manager, Britt Denis. “A custom app allows the inspector to view, share, or supplement specific information. Among others, that includes monitoring incidents in the field, residence verification applications, consulting the Belgian National Register, checking license plates, etc.”

“That way the inspector is not forced to log in separately for each application, but instead has access to everything on a secure, user-friendly platform.” The Voorkempen Police District was one of the pilot districts to commission the app. Meanwhile, the rollout for all police districts is in full swing.

Smartphones and tables are also essential items in the office nowadays. “We all use Office 365, secured with two-factor authentication,” says ICT Administrator Pieter Verhoeven. “It’s just easier to have that extra security code sent to your smartphone or tablet.” The police district also uses BeSecure, a remote desktop solution for the integrated police. This security ensures that inspectors always have access to the right data and tools, even in the field – for example, during an intervention or an inspection by the precinct inspector.

“The application ensures that employees have secure access to the integrated system for the local police through the internet and on any device,” said Head of Logistics & ICT, Nick Neys. “They can work in all of the required police applications on that system to draw up an official report for example.”

Directly accessible

What is more, Voorkempen Police District opted to enhance employee accessibility. “The rule now is that everyone has their own phone number,” said Geert Smet. “Landlines and cell phone numbers are integrated in our communication platform via Fixed Mobile Unification. At the start of the workday, the employee logs on via an app, making them directly accessible.” If the employee is not logged in, at night, on the weekend, or outside of business hours, for instance, then the call is automatically forwarded to another department employee or the reception desk.

“That guarantees greater efficiency and customer-friendliness when handling calls,” said Nick Neys. “Citizens always get someone on the line and have access to instant assistance.” At the same time, the police district's employees only need to have one mobile device with them. “We're consistent all the way down the line,” said Geert Smet. “Each employee is provided with a budget for a device, based on their rank and position. Employees are also provided with a subscription for private use too.”

Digital applications facilitate faster availability of information, greater transparency and a lower margin of error.

Geert Smet, Voorkempen Police District Chief of Police

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The right balance

“We've come a long way in recent years when it comes to digitization,” concluded Chief of Police, Geert Smet. “Employees can match their availability to their working hours, which gives them control over their work-life balance. At the same time, they don’t have to worry about buying or insuring the device, or about the subscription.” Above all, mobile devices provide access to the digital work environment used by the Voorkempen Police District to continue streamlining its services to citizens.

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The Voorkempen Police District encompasses the Brecht, Malle, Schilde, and Zoersel municipalities, for a total of 86,000 inhabitants. The corps has 182 employees.

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