Helping Police Budgets Go Further: Official Records Transcripts

How Outsourcing Official Records Transcripts Frees Up Time and Resources – Without Compromising On Quality

With public sector funding increasingly under pressure, most police forces are trying to do more for less. Outsourcing official records transcripts to an experienced provider can help, and there’s more than one way to make it work.

Since 2010, police forces in the UK have faced a perfect storm – increasing demand, rising costs, and a reduction in central funding. Many are using outsourcing as a way to make budgets go further, agreeing to contracts with external providers for services including CCTV monitoring, custody suite management, and support functions like IT, HR, and payroll.

One area where this approach is working well is transcription, the creation of an official written record of an audio or video recording.

How Experienced Transcription Providers Can Help

For police, official written records are a crucial part of the evidence-gathering process. Witness statements, suspect interviews under PACE and ABE conditions, formal hearings and meetings, bodycam footage, and covert recordings – they all need to be transcribed accurately, in the right format, sometimes very quickly, and under the most secure conditions.

Traditionally, police forces would either retain a dedicated in-house team for this work or draw on a central administrative resource. But there are drawbacks to both of these approaches.

It’s not usually cost-effective to maintain a permanent in-house team, especially when demand for these services fluctuates. In addition, in-house administrative staff can’t always deliver the same levels of responsiveness or flexibility as an external provider.

For these reasons, some forces completely outsource their official records transcripts to expert providers like us, reducing overheads while also ensuring accurate, reliable, flexible, consistent support every time.

Of course, total outsourcing isn’t right for everyone. Fortunately, however, it’s not the only option.

The Hybrid Model: A Flexible Alternative to Total Outsourcing

outsourcing official records transcripts

For forces that want to retain internal capacity, continue to manage transcription services in-house directly. At the same time, access expert, external services as and when they need them, there’s a more flexible ‘hybrid’ delivery model that keeps the client in the driving seat.

Several forces, including the Metropolitan Police, outsource services to us in this way (including transcription for witness statements, suspect interviews, and bodycam footage) while also maintaining an in-house team. This dual approach ensures business continuity at busy times, with external support available whenever it’s needed. It’s especially useful for complex, long-running investigations generating a large amount of audio, or last-minute requests that an in-house team might find hard to accommodate. Some forces also use this approach to cover staff absences or vacancies.

Working Alongside In-house Teams to Add Value, Enhance Security and Drive Up Quality

Despite financial pressures often being the driver behind a decision to bring in outside support, there are other important factors police forces should take into account when it comes to official records transcripts.

A key consideration is information security. The best transcription providers are ISO 27001 certified, with dedicated facilities in which sensitive material can be safely transcribed, and personnel security checked to the very highest levels, which is challenging to replicate in-house

Another all-important factor is quality. For some, it’s a given that outsourcing means compromising on quality, but for official records transcripts, the opposite is true. Thanks to rigorous training and quality assurance processes, the best transcription providers can consistently achieve levels of accuracy that in-house teams simply can’t match. And in the criminal justice system, that’s surely the most important consideration of all. When all interested parties have faith in the process, proceedings run more smoothly and conclude more quickly – better for everyone, including the taxpayer.

For more information on our work with police forces contact: enquiries.exeter@appen.com 

Read more about PACE and ABE transcripts

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