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Crimestoppers Optimises Productivity and Performance

Call Centre Operations

Criminal Justice

Criminal Intelligence Gathering

Crimestoppers used Lanner's PRISM app to model its calling handling process, ensuring that the increased number of calls were answered and efficiently dealt with.

Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping the police to find criminals and solve crimes. Crimestoppers is best known for the anonymous 0800 555 111 phone number where the general public can pass on information about crime, though in recent years this has been augmented by the Crimestoppers website where users can complete an online form. Callers do not give their name or any personal information and calls cannot be tr aced since there is no requirement to appear in court or give a statement to the police. Last year Crimestoppers received 95,276 calls and online forms with useful information. As a result of this information:

  • 8,097 criminals were arrested and charged
  • £22,340,328 worth of illegal drugs was seized
  • £7,723,373 worth of stolen goods was recovered.

In April 2012, Crimestoppers took on a substantial increase in business but did not have large budget for new staff. The challenge was therefore to find the most efficient way of dealing with the extra demand. The challenge was made all the greater because, as a charity, Crimestoppers does not have large funds to draw upon the expertise of consultancies.

Instead, Crimestoppers turned to the Operational Research Society (ORS). The ORS had recently formed a new group called OR in the Third Sector (ORiTS) to provide free support to charities and voluntary organisations. This group aims to help Operational Research analysts that work or plan to work in charities, social enterprises, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations so they can do a better job, helping promote the opportunity to practice in a wider arena.

Two experienced independent analysts, Jane Parkin and Sue Merchant volunteered.

Lanner was a natural choice for both Crimestoppers and the ORiTS team. Lanner has been working with police forces around the UK for 15 years to help them improve their operations. Lanner PRISM is a simulation tool designed to support forces in their drive for efficiency. As a ‘virtual’ police force – PRISM has helped revolutionise the way police forces across the UK make decisions, reducing risk, saving time and saving money. PRISM incorporates a suite of simulation modules covering call handling, incident response, investigation and custody. It was using this tool that Jane Parkin and Sue Merchant sought to help Crimestoppers meet their challenge.

PRISM was used to build a simulation model of the Crimestoppers call centre, spanning three types of personnel: call handlers, online staff and shift leaders. This was then validated against known KPIs, assessing the impact of different shift patterns and recommending dynamic staffing levels.

This approach led to:-

  • Thorough data analysis allowing identification of variations in demand.
  • The ability to simulate and optimise different shift and staffing patterns with a comprehensive assessment of the impact.
  • Proposals for new shift patterns, which the model indicated would significantly increase performance for no increase in staffing costs.
  • The development of staffing profiles for optimal performance for quiet, average and busy weeks.
  • Comparison of current and proposed shifts over an actual week’s operations.

The analysis indicated that the resulting changes in shift patterns and staffing would lead to a 7% increase of those calls answered within the target time of 20 seconds, taking the contact centre over its 90% service level target. In addition, the average time to answer a call should decrease by 41% and there is expected to be a 47% decrease in abandoned calls. Soft benefits include releasing shift managers from taking calls and enabling them to better deliver training to call handlers during quieter periods.

“We’ve benefited hugely from the work and the support received in all areas of the project. From an organisational perspective, you’ve enabled us to take a highly professional approach to increasing the efficiency of our charity” (Karen Ogborn, Head of Performance, Crimestoppers)

Jane Parkin, Operational Research analyst, said: “The strength of PRISM is that it is designed specifically for this environment and is backed up by a wide array of simulation expertise at Lanner. When a charity such as Crimestoppers gives you positive feedback that the simulation will improve the efficiency of the organisation, you know it has been time well spent and that the tools such as PRISM, do the job.”

Kevin Sheehy, public sector lead for Lanner said: “This is a classic example of simulation enabling an organisation to optimise its productivity and performance. PRISM is used by a number of UK police forces such as Derbyshire, West Mercia and Nottinghamshire, so Crimestoppers is in good company when it comes to building better processes and allocating resources in the best possible way.”

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