Deloitte Digital Police Hackathon - Manchester Edition

14 March, 2016 by Max Worth

After the success of Deloitte Digital’s inaugural Policing Hackathon, held at The Buckley Building – DDHQ in September, there was no option but to run a second event for our more northerly policing friends in Manchester.
Deloitte Digital Police Hackathon - Manchester Edition

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) joined from up the road, West Yorkshire came down the M62, and PSNI jetted over from across the water. Guaranteed to be a couple of days full of creativity, innovation and excitement, the only question left remaining…would I be able to think of any more policing puns for my write-up after 2015 success?

The format stayed the same – after all: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – a first day based around problem identification and idea generation, building up to some user personas and user journeys. Led by Deloitte Digital’s policing expert Lee Simpson, ably supported by UX guru Natalie Moore, our teams began by thinking about different objectives for their organisation. Usual suspects of “prevent crime”, “victim prioritisation” and “protect the public” were joined by topical themes of “improve our working with partner agencies” and “using technology to enable services”. We then started to think of some of the barriers that hinder the forces in their progress – touching on everything from political influence to behavioural issues, outdated systems to public perceptions.

Now came the real competition – each force-based team picked a problem and started to think of a high-level, innovative solution. Armed with a UX designer, each team sketched out user personas, from the aptly named “PC N. Able” to the downright imaginative “Joe Public”. This is where the ideas really came to life; it’s only when you put your solution in the context of a humanised persona that you can really picture the components that it needs to have, the way in which it should work, and circumstances it would be used in. Piece the journey across multiple personas, and you’re really ready to start sketching what the app might actually look like – wireframing.

As is becoming customary, the UX guys worked tirelessly to develop a prototype, constantly iterating and progressing after conversations with their force teams. Intertwine that with sessions on business benefit identification and realisation and we really were developing quite the products to take into our Dragon’s Den-style pitches. We even had time for an interesting and thought-provoking presentation from Human Capital’s Graham Johnson, who talked about some of the people and culture challenges of enabling digital change.

The main event, however, was approaching. The coffees were downed, throats cleared and shirts tucked in: it was time for the pitches. Our esteemed panel of lead Home Affairs partner James Taylor, and the aforementioned Lee Simpson and Natalie Moore, readied themselves for three excellent pitches of three excellent ideas.

GMP went first, presenting their solution to a common problem for police forces around the country: information sharing between the force and partner agencies. Their solution allows for a more complete picture of vulnerability and promotes a multi-agency approach – a key objective for the force.

Meanwhile, PSNI presented their solution for the problems local policing commanders have around real-time deployment information: an interactive application that allows for more effective resource management, and even aims to reduce demand in the long-term as well.

Finally, West Yorkshire developed a two-way community engagement platform that allows the Force to interact in real-time with citizens, local businesses and third sector organisations. This would be personalised to the user, allowing them to receive broadcasts from the Force, or see events on their newsfeed or access a live map.

Cue a huge sigh of relief – the hard work was over.

All that was left was five minutes of deliberation for the judges (over a cookie or three) and Greater Manchester Police were crowned winners of Deloitte Digital’s second Police Hackathon, receiving a truly arresting 3D printed trophy! Congratulations!