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National Crime Agency steps up automation

26/11/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has completed the first two tranches of robotic process automation (RPA) and is aiming to extend the use of the technology.

An update was presented by operations manager Rob Bennett and senior officer Dan Ginnelly at UKAuthority’s Bots4Good conference in London on Friday.

They said that under a programme that began in summer 2018 the agency, working with consultancy CGI, has been able to successfully automate four key processes to the extent that they are now operating unattended: case preparation, validation, hits and alert deletion. On average RPA is proving 50% faster than with human workers and the system is automatically generating weekly and monthly reports.

The second tranche has been focused on the more complex challenge of contingency planning for Brexit, which may lead to an increased use of Interpol circulations from EU member states.

It has involved the automation of nine processes – including case creation, borders referrals and intelligence referrals – which are now operating 73% faster than with human workers, have improved data accuracy and produced the correct data formatting for partners.

Dan Ginnelly

Ginnelly (pictured) said some of the benefits have come in redefining the processes as much as introducing automation.

“By looking at the processes we were able to redefine them to make them work better for the automation,” he said. “Just because you did something one way before doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way in introducing RPA.”

He said there was also a need for early engagement with any other organisations whose systems were involved the processes.

The next tranches, set for deployment early next year, will be focused on end to end automation of INTERPOL circulations, improving the service for international requests to UK law enforcement agencies and sharing best practice across the NCA.

Home page image for story from iStock

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