Number: D0508 Date Published: 11 November 2020 Version 1 – November 2020
1.0 Summary of Changes
This is a new procedure designed to provide the working framework for the distribution and management of workflow within the Resolution Centre.
2.0 What this Procedure is about
This procedure outlines how Essex Police will manage incidents and Athena records that are assigned to the Resolution Centre. This procedure is centred on serving the public while adhering to HOCR, NCRS and Essex Police’s legal obligations. The aim of this procedure is to set out where the Resolution Centre is responsible to respond to those needs while also ensuring both public and officer safety is kept sacrosanct.
This procedure is designed to inform the role of operators what their responsibilities are with regards to the daily function of the Resolution Centre.
Within this procedure are contained Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as laid out by commanders in order to provide guidance to staff and officers regarding efficiency within the unit and updating informants on their reported matters. Officers should also familiarise themselves with the relevant provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and the Codes of Practice.
In partnership with this procedure Essex Police has various tools and existing policies to assist in response to allocating, investigating and resolving incidents; the National Decision Model (NDM), the THRIVE model as well as D 0503 Procedure – Responding to Incidents. These models and practices provide the foundation for this document.
Essex Police will provide accurate and up-to-date information to victims on the progress of the investigation as outlined within the Victim’s Code.
This procedure determines the workflow process of the new Resolution Centre and lays out the framework for when incidents and crime and crimes are to be inputted. In keeping with this B 0100 Policy - Recording of Incidents and Crime is to be used in close partnership. As part of the investigations aspect B 0600 Policy - Investigation of Crime and B 0602 Procedure - Investigation of Crime subsection processes must be adhered.
In the application of this procedure all staff are reminded of the need to comply with the standards and principles of the Code of Ethics for Policing. Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory.
3.0 Detail the Procedure
3.1 System Input
In the Resolution Centre there are three main sources of workflow which will be covered in section 3.2:
Phone calls from both the public and from officers;
STORM Resolution Centre incidents from the FCR;
Online reports from the Essex Police web portal and TrueVision;
Transfers from other forces
Other agencies, e.g. NFIB referrals (Action Fraud), NRM, MARRAC, ECFRS, Hydrant etc.
ATHENA Records created by officers requiring Quality Assurance.
All of the above must relate to non-dynamic situations where the THRIVE (at time of request or review) present(s) no risk to any persons involved. THRIVE remains the overarching principal for guidance on grading and must be completed at the point the initial information is given by the informant.
Provided the information does not change then the incident needs only to be processed through the THRIVE assessment once.
3.1.1 Assessing the Risk
Should any situation or new piece of evidence emerge the matter must be sent through the THRIVE process again to keep track of risk. At this point, the new information may identify that the magnitude of the situation has increased.
Should the report detail a now live and ongoing (High Risk) situation with identifiable threat and harm, as deduced by the THRIVE assessment, the matter must be appropriately regraded. Should the report now attract gradings 1, 2 or 3 then the FCR will need to be notified and handed responsibility for resolution.
In addition, whilst the National Contact Principles and Practice gives examples of the priorities for police attendance based on broad incident type; this guidance must be supplemented by an early risk assessment of the specifics of the information provided by the caller. This risk assessment is further informed by the use of all Police indices to gain further information and underpinned by the Code of Ethics.
The National Decision Model (NDM) should be used to inform this process, and where a STORM incident is created it will be prioritised in conjunction with the nationally agreed ACPO response grades.
3.1.2 Exceptions and Specialist Resources
When assessing the risk the incident will remain with the Resolution Centre providing that it does not garner a priority grading or above. However, during the course of incident or ATHENA investigations information of a sensitive or high-risk nature may emerge that may require a specialist to arbitrate on. An example of this is the presence of a Firearms intelligence report relating to an involved person or property. At this point the incident will become subject to another THRIVE investigation but due to circumstances the grade could still be at 4.
Therefore, even though under the strictest terms of this procedure the matter will need to be analysed by a trained Tactical Firearms Commander which will be Oscar 1/2. Therefore, such matters must be sent to the FCR for review with FCR Supervision being personally made aware. The incident, although on grade 4, will remain with the FCR until such time that risk aspect has been mitigated. Other specialist units reacting to acquired intelligence may include CBRN, PolSa and MOSOVO (but this list is not exhaustive) and in each case exceptions may arise.
3.2.1 Public and Police Calls
188.8.131.52 Methodology of Receipt
Members of the public dialling the 101 non-emergency contact number will first of all connect with an Interactive Voice Response which will present to them a number of options. One of the options will directly link to the Resolution Centre but calls can also be transferred from Switchboard and FCR Call Handlers if specific criteria are met:
The matter reported is a crime type;
The situation is not dynamic; There are no aggravating factors to THRIVE;
The incident does not qualify under any of the Essex Police identified 14 Strands of Vulnerability.
Also, the IVR will serve to inform the public of other methods of reporting such matters and clear signposting to the online portal is present.
184.108.40.206 Handling and Triage
As per the overarching aim of the Resolution Centre the Resolution Centre Operative will be striving to provide satisfaction to the public while resolving and providing closure for their issues in line with policy and HOCR. With this in mind the operative will look to conclude matters, or ATHENA records expediently and at the first available opportunity. However, it is important to highlight that our efficiency and undertakings are never to the detriment of public satisfaction which is to be kept at a premium.
Where an ATHENA record needs to be created in line with HOCR standards the operative will establish the facts of the matter taking care to record also full POLE data for the victim. Capturing as much detail and information as possible the operative will record the matter and also perform initial triage on the incident to ascertain suitability. The principal method for identifying this suitability is THRIVE.
Once THRIVE has been applied and if no dynamic or high-risk factors have been identified the incident is suitable for further progression within the Resolution Centre. If there are aggravating THRIVE factors the call must be placed onto STORM and transferred to FCR for allocation. Conversely the matter may not qualify for either an ATHENA record as is not a crime and will not require allocation and in which case the caller can be correctly advised the matter is not for police and all electronic logs filed.
The Athena Allocation Flowchart can be found in B 0602 Procedure – Investigation of Crime.
Should the raised incident be a crime of a non-dynamic nature then the next step is to use the CARA triage tool to ascertain the next point in the workflow. CARA is a tool for adjudicating on whether a crime is to be allocated to an officer for further investigation and CARA alone at this point decides the next point of the process. It acts as a guide and the decision to allocate or file a report remains the responsibility of the investigator. For more information on CARA see section 3.3. Based on the outcome of certain thresholds and criteria built into CARA, ATHENA records will then be distributed in one of three ways as laid out in section 6.
The CARA assessment will be added to the ATHENA report for validity audit purposes.
See also procedure D 0510 Procedure - Crime Allocation Rationale Assessment.
3.2.2 Incidents Graded as a 6 “Resolution Centre”
220.127.116.11 Methodology of Receipt
FCR and in some cases the Resolution Centre will generate incidents graded as “Resolution Centre”, these incidents will not reach FCR dispatch. Following the THRIVE principals such incidents that have low risk and are non-dynamic in nature will inevitably fall into these categories. Under the filter on STORM titled “Resolution Centre” all of this incidents will appear and will have been transferred from the relevant call handler. Before appearing in this filter there is an expectation the initial call handler will have performed the following:
If the incident is a crime the presence of POLE data or a line of text about why capturing that data at the time was impractical;
A THRIVE assessment in line with the current THRIVE policy;
If incident has been downgraded a rationale as to why with additional supporting THRIVE assessment detailing the changed complexion of the incident;
An ASB grading if the incident regards any form of anti-social behaviour.
18.104.22.168 Triage and Resolve
Individuals assigned to the Resolution Centre STORM Filter will face an eclectic mix of incident types and demands. The mix of incidents present will be too vast and different in nature to each possibly anticipate and describe in full but the working principals for managing this filter are clear. Operatives will perform the following tasks;
Read the entire incident to gain a complete understanding of the nature of the incident.
If any aspect of the incident is in anyway unclear or vital elements missing to either crime or identify the true nature of the matter the informant is to be re-contacted for this information.
If the incident is a crime type and suitable to be recorded in line with NCRS on the ATHENA crime recording system. The CARA tool is then applied to score the data within the record and guide the further allocation of the record (see section 3.3).
For non-crime incidents the means of handling the issue will vary.
ASB issues will be handled using the ASB Matrix and resolution will follow based upon the outcome of the Matrix.
For non-crime, non-ASB, consider Essex Police powers and supportive policy write a brief 1-2 sentence update about what viable resolution for this incident could take.
In both these circumstances it may be prudent to input the matters onto ATHENA providing non-crime references. In these cases, a decision will need to be made if the matter can be filed, allocated to LPA police officers where attendance is required or alternatively there is some investigative element required the matter can be allocated to the Resolution Centre Investigations Supervisor.
3.2.3 Officer Direct Input
22.214.171.124 Methodology of Receipt
Officers with their Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) can input crimes directly onto ATHENA for prompt recording. ATHENA is the designated tool for managing an investigation within Essex Police and therefore it remains a priority that the information held within it is accurate and viable. Although officers are trained in how to use ATHENA it is those operatives that work within the Resolution Centre that are the subject matter experts. Due to issues around understanding HOCR, NSIR and system data integrity it is therefore pertinent that Resolution Centre Operatives are the custodians for data on the ATHENA system. W 2020 Procedure - Data Quality provides correct guidance on the required format, quality and accuracy required to form valid ATHENA reports.
These reports created by officers appear in the ATHENA Unit in-tray based upon their method of creation and type of incident. These need to be actioned and reviewed in order of severity with QA High Priority receiving greatest scrutiny. Due to officers being precluded from viewing ATHENA content prior to the QA process the ability to handle such matters needs to be present 24 hours a day.
126.96.36.199 Quality Assurance and Linking
The created ATHENA record once inputted by an officer cannot be viewed or any further additions made until the Resolution Centre Operative has quality assured the record and linked together associated records.
Resolution Centre Operatives will therefore need to assume the role of inputter when deducing the validity of reports viewed. Keeping in mind the principals of Data Quality they need to check the report is NCRS compliant, contains accurate information and all other relevant reports are linked. The greatest care must be taken to minimise duplication and to flag errors to local supervision wherever they arise.
These records although have an inputting officer will go through the Athena Allocation Flowchart to ensure that the appropriate team manage the investigation.
CARA is a tool designed by Essex Police that provides a weight scoring outcome to reports of crime. This numerical figure is tested against a number of measures and provides an answer to the question of allocation. This can be overridden if necessary. CARA is the means of arbitration on whether the crime investigation will reach an officer for progression.
Historically, before CARA, this decision to allocate was based upon the decision of the individual using their knowledge, experience and expertise to identify the correct course of action. CARA applies a uniform approach and provides auditability to this function but acts as a guide only. Given that fact, there can always be circumstances in which exceptions allow for matters that could ordinarily be filed could be allocated. In these circumstances consult with a Resolution Centre Supervisor and audit all actions contrary to CARA.
The CARA process will conclude in 1 of 2 ways:
Record to be filed – This record has scored low on the CARA assessment and meets no requirement for Police to deal in keeping with current supportive policies.
Record to be allocated - At this point the investigator will need to deduce whether there are aspects of the investigation which can be handled over the telephone. Using THRIVE and the NDM the investigator will need to satisfy themselves that the incident is appropriate for the receiving department. The incident can be allocated to:
LPA Officers – This record has scored high enough to initiate further investigation and this can only be completed by the physical attendance of an officer as there are no lines of enquiry that can be performed without this presence.
Resolution Centre Investigations Supervision – This record requires further evidence gathering, investigation and/or determination that can be achieved at least initially through centralised quality investigation. This workflow now passes to the investigative arm of the Resource Centre.
The result of this CARA process must be made clear to the informant or victim of crime within 24 hours of the initial call and the rest of the process (if any) explained. This manner of contact must be done as a phone call
3.4 Resolution Centre Investigations
Given the Resolution Centre Investigations unit will manage a diverse workflow of crime types there will be opportunity to specialise roles within the department. This aspect remains at the discretion of local supervision as they are in charge of allocating workloads to individuals.
3.4.1 Source of Workflow
The Resolution Centre Case Investigations Supervisor will be responsible for the distribution of all allocated ATHENA reports to the Investigations Team.
This is clearly a key role and will need to be staffed during all operational hours of the unit. This Supervisor will have oversight for the entire team and will allocate workloads from their in-tray to Investigators keeping in mind their current workload/specialism, the NDM and the Code of Ethics to ensure fairness is applied.
188.8.131.52 Case Action Plans
In allocating workload, the Supervisor will also be assessing each record to ensure it is suitable for the department and the THRIVE assessment remains valid. The Supervisor will need to set or delegate setting a Case Action Plan for each and every record they handle. Where delegated, the Supervisor must ratify after completion. This Case Action Plan will direct the necessary steps to be undertaken in order to bring the investigation to resolution. In order to set this case action plan the best practice will be to phone back the victim/informant to discuss the exact nature of what is being reported to tailor the investigation to their needs.
3.4.2 Investigations and Outcomes
The scope and range of investigations are far too varied to describe individually limiting this document only to process overview. The Resolutions Centre Investigator will be responsible for a tray of ATHENA records which they will be held accountable for their management. The practices of this team member will be to:
Progress Investigations towards an outcome;
Evidence gather for the purposes of completing packages;
Provide expert advice to the public;
Improve public confidence and satisfaction.
From being allocated the ATHENA crime record it will be a Service Level Agreement that the victim or informant will receive a phone call back with an update within 48 hours as a minimum. At this point the investigator will also discuss the Victim Care Contract to establish how often the informant would like to be updated throughout the investigation.
The investigator is responsible for following the Case Action Plan towards a form of outcome or resolution. The nature of this outcome could be:
To file the investigation as there are no more viable lines of enquiry and no further means of pursuing any further actions.
To allocate the investigation to a LPA team for further escalation.
NB. In this instance the current OIC will need to phone the supervisor for the relevant department and establish who will be the new OIC. The current OIC will then transfer the responsibility to that OIC. This gives a ‘warm hand-over’ between departments. The decision to allocate by the Resolution centre cannot be challenged by the receiving department and the team on duty at the time the decision is made is the team who will receive the allocation.
The investigator will be OIC of their investigations and has full responsibility to ensure these are completed in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the OIC to raise any issues with the completion of their investigations at the earliest opportunity with their line manager. If protracted periods of absence are anticipated by the OIC they will need to instigate dialogue with their line manager about the handling of any tasks in their absence as they remain ultimately accountable.
3.4.3 Role of Resolution Centre Manager in respect of Investigations
With respect of the Resolution Centre Shift Manager they will be responsible for ensuring that the function of the Resolution Centre is in operation with key roles fulfilled. They will need to brief the Supervisor about their expectations and monitor the level of records requiring allocation and the volumes of workload for individual OICs. They will need to periodically dip sample Case Action Plan adherence to ensure quality investigations are being conducted. Managing the key control points where information is shared will be vital to ensure exchanges are valid. These control points exist where:
FCR transfer incidents to the Resolution Centre
Resolution Centre Triage allocate records for investigation
The Resolution Centre Case Investigations Supervisor allocates workloads to their teams.
Effective management of resources will also be vital. Areas of the Resolution Centre requiring a dynamic approach to resource management include:
Call handling demand;
The number of incidents awaiting triage in STORM;
The number of ATHENA records requiring QA;
The size of the Resolution Centre Case Investigations Supervisor’s allocations list.
The Resolution Centre Manager will need to respond to these changing demands by moving the appropriate amount of resource to maximise productivity.
3.4.4 The Role of the Operational Support Team Inspector
The Operational Support Team Inspector will be responsible for conducting all 28-day reviews on outstanding investigations held within Contact Management Command. They will perform exactly the same kind of inspection of these records as an LPT Inspector would perform on the LPA. The Case Action Plan will need to be scrutinised along with all actions undertaken by the OIC and actions given directly to progress the record to resolution.
4.0 Equality Impact Assessment
EIA – May 2020
5.0 Risk Assessment
There are generic risks associated with the activity of recording and managing crime incidents. Access to all risk assessments can be gained through the joint Essex Police and Kent Police Collaboration website.
In applying this procedure officers and staff need to consider the safety of the public and their own safety at all times. We have a positive duty to uphold every person’s right to life and when responding to calls for assistance must not unduly place any person’s life at risk
The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:
Essex Diversity and Inclusion Manager
Health & Safety
Strategic Change Team
Strategic Force Crime & Incident Registrar
Missing Person Team
Domestic Abuse Safeguarding Team
LPA Command Teams
FCR Chief Inspector
7.0 Monitoring and Review
Compliance with this procedure will be monitored by the Inspection Team within Strategic Change and Performance through regular inspection. The outcome from inspections will be forwarded to the FCR Commander.
This procedure will be reviewed every 12 months by, or on behalf of, the Head of the Force Control Room.
8.0 Governing Force policy. Related Force policies or related procedures
D 0500 Policy – Incident Command and Control
D 0503 Procedure – Responding to Incidents
D 0509 Procedure – Resolution Centre – Evidence Gathering & Information Sharing
D 0510 Procedure - Crime Allocation Rationale Assessment (CARA)
D 0511 Procedure – Live Chat
B 1600 Policy – Missing Persons
B 1601 Procedure - Missing Persons
E 0500 Policy - Mental Ill Health
W 2020 Procedure – Data Quality
8.1 Data Security
Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.
8.2 Retention & Disposal of Records
Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal
We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice.
9.0 Other source documents, e.g., legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable)
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and the Codes of Practice