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Speech Technology Helps Law Enforcement Make More With Less

April 02, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Every police department in the world is familiar with this problem: budget cuts that come at the same time expectations and workloads are rising, along with expectations of results. According to a recent article, one answer may be technology, specifically voice recognition technology.

While many organizations view speech technology and voice recognition as a function that simply routes calls via interactive voice response (IVR), in recent years, its applications have broadened across multiple functionalities and into a variety of public sector spaces.

In the UK, every corner of the public sector is currently facing steep budget cuts with policing budgets being reduced by around 20 percent over the life of the current Parliament, said Brian Redpath, Public Sector Director at speech technology provider Nuance (News - Alert). As always, police see a lot of their time taken up with paperwork.

“Police officers spend around 50 percent of their time typing up notes from incidents,” Redpath said. “In many cases, reports are returned to the station workflow system two to three days after the initial incident occurred and contain errors and omissions.”

This is where speech technology could be a great help. By enabling police to verbally record what they see and capture information while out on the beat, officers can be freed-up to focus on fighting crime and dealing with the public’s emergency needs. The improved sophistication and accuracy of voice solutions means police offers can rely on it for work that was formerly done by hand, in the office. By linking these voice solutions with mobile devices, which police are increasingly relying upon, police departments could put themselves in an ideal environment to begin trialing the latest developments in mobile speech solutions.

Rather than make copious notes only to return to the station to type detailed reports, said Redpath, officers can simply speak their reports into their mobile device and the information will be automatically sent to the station’s servers and archived according to strict rules and procedures, saving time and money. In addition, the solutions could be used to take witness statements, recording the information immediately following incidents, which would improve accuracy, helping both investigations and trial procedures.

Officers can even use speech recognition as a rapid foreign language translation service so that they can quickly communicate rudimentary phrases when dealing with members of the public who cannot speak English, helping save time and money on translators.

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