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Jan 2019 | Data Quality | Data quality solutions
By Posted by Experian

Saving ten years’ worth of work and supporting positive policing

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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 collect huge amounts of data, often 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 two areas:

  1. Removing the need to search through duplicate records would provide a holistic view of one person and their interactions. This can better expose any potential threat that they pose to the community or how vulnerable they may be and enable a response that’s far quicker and more appropriate to the situation.
  2. Significantly less time would be required to manually link and manage duplicates, saving valuable resources at a time when the Force has seen cuts of 25% in the last 8 years and 500 fewer police officers.


Convinced of its transformative potential, Cleveland Police chose to partner with Experian, who were best placed to meet the requirements through providing a combination of software and data. As the first of its kind, it solves an issue hindering many forces. 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 uses Experian verified reference data to clean existing data and then deduplicate in Experian’s data management platform.
  • 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.


According to Cleveland Police, the results have been phenomenal – with a dramatic reduction in the growth of new duplicate records by 100,000 per year.

“Experian’s data assets have made all the difference. One particular highlight has been the date of birth append. We’ve saved 10 years’ worth of manual work for one data quality staff member because of the automatic merging it’s allowed – that’s staggering.”

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 means these costs are now starting to reduce significantly.
  • Response to the public is quicker and more appropriate as call handlers have instant access to existing data. New records are created from an accurate data source, which requires little to no inputting.
  • It’s impacting public safety in cases where having a holistic view reduces the risk that vital information may be missed. One such example is the internal police vetting team who process security clearance applications for those wanting to work within the Policing arena. They estimate the time taken to resolve data quality issues has reduced from 1.5 hours per day to just 15 minutes.

” Data is central to policing – we need it to protect people and to prevent crime. The Golden Nominal solution genuinely drives efficiency and helps us to do really important police work more quickly, at a time of austerity. Behind the scenes it’s transforming the way we do business and we are seeing the impact on our culture, financial efficiency and, importantly, our ability to serve to the community.”

— Alastair Simpson, Chief Superintendent for the North East Regional Special Operations Unit, Cleveland Police


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