Between them the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies deliver frontline policing to an area of more than 3,500 square miles in size and with a population in excess of 1.5 million people. It is testament to the dedication of their officers that both counties remain within one of the regions with the lowest rates of crime in the UK.
While both constabularies police their own counties, the two do collaborate on certain ancillary services where efficiency improvements and economies of scale can be achieved, so freeing up money and resources for mainstream policing. IT is a case in point, being handled centrally from Norfolk’s headquarters where a team of specialists manage police IT and telecoms on behalf of both counties.
Like every public sector organisation in the UK, the Police service has not escaped central government mandated cost savings. Yet these must be achieved without impacting frontline services, and ideally while bringing about performance and efficiency improvements. As a consequence, back room infrastructure has come increasingly under the spotlight.
With a legacy telephone system based principally on ISDN and local PBXs, both Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies were keen to realise the cost saving, flexibility and resilience advantages offered by switching their telephony over to SIP technology. Bringing the whole system up to date was a priority too, delivering more potential for future upgrades while facilitating better management and cost control.
Using a number of public reference sites – including one other constabulary – we were able to demonstrate our SIP solution to the Norfolk and Suffolk team. We then implemented 300 channels of load balanced SIP over 100Mbit diversely routed connections to Cisco PBXs at two of their data centres. A gradual porting over has seen more than 6,500 DDI numbers and some 5,500 extensions move over to our SIP solution.
Together with added resilience and flexibility the solution also permits extra capacity and extensions to be added quickly and easily, for example during incidents or emergencies. And where special gateways were once used for calling to mobile phones, such calls are now routed over Gamma’s network, making things less complex and easier to manage.