August 28th, 2008


Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Don’t you just hate it when people who don’t do your job make changes to it in the guise of improvement. It’s all the more frustrating when the changes they make actually do the opposite & make your job more difficult.

Take Command & Control systems. This is a computer software programme with which we manage all the assignments & resources available to us. Us Comms Ops are extremely familiar with our systems. We use them every minute of the day, we know what works well & what doesn’t. From time to time there will some minor tweak here & there, maybe an additional keystroke added to access something a bit quicker, or the addition of some piece of information.

We’ve just had a change to the system. Someone who doesn’t have to work the system day in & day out has come up with a fantastic wheeze which he thought would improve our lives. I can’t go into any detail but the upshot is that it is now far more difficult to access vital information which we do hundreds of times a day. We now have to take two to three times as long to find out the same  information we did before.

The change cost thousands of pounds for an outside software developer to implement. It was implemented without discussion with the end users & I’ve not met one single person who has a good thing to say for the changes. To change it back will presumably cost even more thousands & will be an admission that someone got it wrong.

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  1. TaxPayingFool says:

    Same thing happens in the private sector – bring in a new system without consulting end users then sit back and wait for it to go t**s-up.

    So long as we’re still making money (what credit crunch??) no-one really cares.

    Been there, done that, got the grey hairs!

    August 28th, 2008 at 20:27

  2. Plodnomore says:

    Two Command and Control systems ago we had a system called C2. Based at are Police stations rather than at Police HQ, it worked well for what we used it for, though sometimes rather slow if there was a major emergency at the other end of the County. Then someone, who we later discovered to be a Chief Superintendent, whose brother in law ran an IT company, and who had the ear of the Chief Constable, suggested an ‘improvement’ which would cost the Force a minimum sum when compared to having it done by an outside agency. The fact that the Ch Supt had no knowledge of computers or the C2 system was of little interest to anyone, except those who used the system and we weren’t asked. So it was implemented and it kept crashing, freezing or just plain not working at all. By the time that oh so expensive outside agency came in and sorted it out, the Ch Supt had retired and moved to the Bahamas where he was happily cultivating his interest in deep sea fishing. Twenty years on, nothing changes it seems. How long now?

    August 28th, 2008 at 20:34

  3. Tony F says:

    Same thing happens in the military. Usually because some politico bean counter forgets that we are not a profit making organization. What applies to productive industry, targets etc does not apply to service personnel. Targets were to be bombed and/or shot at. Hmm, I have an Idea.

    August 28th, 2008 at 21:46

  4. Reactively Proactive says:

    I am still on my firts CC system. We are gearing up for a brand spanking new system though. Nobody knows why because the old one works perfectly well, everyone can use it, its simple and I can’t recall a single time when it has failed in any way. Its the only system we have that has not gone down at the slightest problem. We shall have to see what major improvements it makes, but if its similar to the last 3 systems to be ‘improved’, things are about to get a whole lot worse. Only this time, it gets worse in real time where people acually get affected by it when it goes wrong.

    August 28th, 2008 at 23:55

  5. Conginuity RUC says:

    Just One word folks, NICHE. I dont know how many english forces have had this completly rubbish system foisted upon them, but it has totally ruined the job for me. A nice simple file, say no insurence which took about a half hour on the old system can now take up to a week. Good Work that ACC, and you know who you are!

    August 29th, 2008 at 14:04

  6. Civ_In_The_City says:

    Do any regular contributors (or lurkers) know of any good C&C or Crime/Intel Systems?

    I believe my local force is happy with their C&C system, day-to-day management is by a dedicated team of coppers and civs, nothing gets past them unless it is in the interest of the operators and doesn`t cause a cock-up. This stuff is too serious for amateurs to dabble with. You`re spot on about change for the sake of it, any change costs time and causes pain so you need to be certain it`s worth it.

    The particularly hard fincancial situation of recent years, I think, is bringing to an end a long running ‘golden age’ for the traditional suppliers of police computer systems. Forces have learnt from their mistakes and lax contract negotiations of the past and are getting much tougher. Quite right too ‘cos some of it is my money.

    August 29th, 2008 at 20:05

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