Case Study: Cleveland Police – supporting positive policing and driving efficiency savings


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Data IQ Awards

The first of its kind, Cleveland Police’s ‘Golden Nominal’ project is an award-winning initiative which showcases how the power of better data positively impacts on policing. Such was its innovative nature, that the project was recognised at a national level by the Home Office, who provided co-funding from its Innovation Fund.



Cleveland Police’s data is often collected under pressing timescales or in challenging circumstances. The result was a very high number of duplicate and incomplete person records within their main policing system.

The scale of the issue was vast and impossible to quantify with 1,867,000 person records in their system vs. an estimated population in the Cleveland policing area of less than 600,000.

Solving this would be a major breakthrough in their ability to deliver on two fronts:

Removing the need to search through duplicate records would mean a far quicker and more informed response to the public. With instant access to a single record that provides valuable insight on all historic interactions, decision making could be more appropriate to each situation.

Significantly less time would be required to manually link and manage duplicates, saving valuable resources at a time when budgets are tighter than ever. What’s more, accurately reporting and delivering on regulatory requirements was a labour intensive and manual process without a clear view of each record.

Whilst Cleveland Police had made efforts to reduce the number of duplicates via third-party matching tools, the impact was limited. This was because many records didn’t contain enough accurate information within them to qualify for high-level matching rules. The Force were determined to find an alternative solution that would provide credible reference data and flexible matching to deliver a significant reduction in duplicates and eliminate the issue going forward.



Convinced of its transformative potential, Cleveland Police chose to deliver a pioneering project in partnership with Experian. This was championed by Superintendent Alastair Simpson and the Force Data Protection Manager, Maria Hopper.

As the first of its kind, the solution solves an issue hindering many forces nationally. It essentially provides a ‘Golden Nominal’ of each person record, a concept commonly referred to as a ‘Single Customer View’ or ‘Single Citizen View’ in other sectors.

Cleaning and matching existing data: A Golden Nominal database used Experian verified reference data to clean existing data and then deduplicate in Experian’s data management platform. Intelligent reversible matching rules created in the platform also matched against a number of defined scenarios to ensure the highest possible number of credible matches.

Accessibility to the Golden Nominal at the front end: The Golden Nominal database and Full Electoral Role was made accessible to call handlers who can now instantly look up, assess and match back to an existing record or create new ones using a comprehensive and accurate data source.

More accurate MoPI response: The Experian tool also provides flexible business reporting and insight for better deployment of resources and delivery on MoPI (Management of Police Information) legislation requirements. One example is the introduction of auto deletion of MoPI 3 records. These relate to offenders who have committed or are alleged to have committed minor crimes. Forces are obliged to link together all MoPI 3 records before they are deleted because when multiple records exist for the same individual it can flag up that they may be a more serious offender. Having a single view of data dramatically reduces the risk that these may get missed in the matching process.

Data Governance: The Experian platform also provides a data governance suite which provides a holistic view of data held. This produces 23 bespoke weekly reports that monitor specific elements of data quality. These ensure a focus on long term quality and flag up where issues arise that could pose a significant risk to the Force.



Reducing the crippling level of exact duplicates by 20% at input was a core goal. Far surpassing targets, today none are created at all. High probability duplicates are also automatically merged within 24 hours and more produced for manual review and merge.

The growth of total records has reduced by a staggering 56% on average per week when comparing a 42-week time period before and after the system implementation. The Force also estimates that if they’d had Experian’s solution in 2003 when their current database was installed, today they’d have at most 800,000 person records compared with over 2,000,000 had they not introduced the Golden Nominal.

A true ‘breakthrough’, it’s created huge opportunities to serve the community better and identify those most vulnerable far more quickly.

Poor data quality was estimated to be costing over £250k per year i.e. inputting, processing, reviewing and amending data. The solution is beginning to provide efficiency savings which should increase significantly once fully embedded.

Response to the public is quicker as call handlers have instant access to existing data. New records are created from a comprehensive and accurate data source, which requires little to no inputting.

A ‘Golden Nominal’ is fundamental to “THRIVE”, the decision model used in Policing to assess the most appropriate response to an emergency call. Accurate “THRIVE” assessments not only safeguard the most vulnerable but also provide for intelligent deployment of resource at a time when public services are experiencing financial challenges and increased demands.

Looking ahead, Maria and her team decided to partner with Experian based on a longer-term vision of how its data management platform could also power analytical capabilities. The Force has identified several other ways in which the solution could play a vital role in crime prevention such as recognising vulnerable members of society and will be progressing this. “We’re excited about the possibilities that the Experian data management platform offers for doing really important analysis. This will support some of the most vital work we do as well as collaborating with other forces for wider improvements and efficiency savings.”


“We’ve undertaken our own detailed evaluation and are delighted with how Experian’s Golden Nominal solution is performing. It’s exceeded initial expectations and we’ve been impressed by the professionalism of Experian’s consultants. We see this as a long-term investment but already there are significant efficiency savings in terms of resource and, importantly, our ability to serve the community.”

Maria Hopper – Data Protection Manager, Cleveland Police