Operational policing needs innovative ideas to reduce errors and reworks and Principle One has been exploring the concept of using simple chatbot tools to deliver "just in time" training to front-line officers.
With a new wave of officers entering policing, training needs an overhaul to handle the disconnect between traditional learning techniques and the best approaches to support "digital natives" to develop the knowledge needed. We believe there is more scope to use active learning techniques, such as a chatbot, to provide greater support on the job as officers navigate complex processes for the first time.
At Principle One, we posed the question of whether we could we use a simple chatbot to bring classroom material and reference manuals to life. This chatbot could also continue to provide support as officers put this knowledge into practice once ‘in the job’ – removing the once inevitable need for reworks.
To test this approach, we developed an Application Assistant tool to guide an investigator through the process of requesting communications data. The tool helps in consolidating the information needed to gain approvals and request the data required in an investigation. This reduces the need for specialist support, validates common errors and reduces the turnaround to gain access to approvals and data.
This type of tool has been shown to be particularly useful where officers are required to work through a set of linear processes to gain approval for data acquisition (in this example communications data), support applications to court (for example for Warrants, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Domestic Violence Prevention Orders or Closure Orders) or prepare evidence for disclosure.
The chatbot interface offers many advantages over a traditional training solution. It's quick to develop and evolve over time with the ability to add new guidance as policing evolves. It can also be used alongside traditional systems to offer tradecraft tips and provide accessible reference or training materials in bite size chunks.
With strong evidence to demonstrate the benefits of "learning by doing" and the use of on the job training tools, this type of technology should play an increasing role in supporting the influx of new officers and addressing the change in their training needs.