Coordination and Communication

In Police Command and Control Rooms



Gabriella Spinelli*, Bhavna Sharma ,

School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics, Brunel University


Paul Shaw

Detective Superintendent, Kent Police, in secondment at PITO



Stephen Dines

Head of Business Processes, Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO)





This paper aims to provide an up-to-date picture of the strategies and tools for crime recording and resource deployment employed in the command and control rooms (CMCR) of local police forces. This is with the intent to emphasise the current gap between practices and resources available at local police level and the national performance targets reinforced by the National Intelligence Model (NIM).


In the study we disbanded the activities taking places in CMCRs and applied the computational approach of Distributed Cognition (DCog) to analyse how information is represented, collected and disseminated between people and across media. An ethnographically inspired methodology was applied to develop a thorough appreciation of the socio-technical work environment.


The findings illustrate the diversity of technologies that police forces are already employing in the fight against crime and the large corpus of organisational and technological changes that are required for configuring a robust and consistent approach to intelligence-led policing.



KEYWORDS: Police, Distributed Cognition, Intelligence, Information Representation, Crime Recording.