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Logistics and efficiency Solution

Bringing Innovation to FIRST Security’s Prisoner Transport Services

Bringing Innovation to FIRST Security’s Prisoner Transport Services


FIRST Security

Supply Chain Systems Technologies Business Innovation

While this article is mostly a story about digital conversion, it’s also a story about people—about how digital tools can be used to both accelerate the efficiency of strategic and operational processes and promote the welfare and security of people on the ground.

Some background: FIRST Security have been providing their prisoner escort and court custody service (PECCS) to various justice sector agencies for 25 years. This service is a complex, high-risk service that involves: 

  • Transporting prisoners back and forth between correctional facilities and courtrooms 

  • Maintaining custody of prisoners within the courtroom

  • Ensuring any high-risk prisoner variables (e.g. health issues, welfare concerns, gang affiliations, etc.) are well understood and appropriately managed

Within this basic framework, there is a cohort of more nuanced operational needs centred around vehicle allocation, tasking assignments, prisoner segregation and other special instructions (gang affiliation, medical checks). 

Additionally, due to the nature of the service, data security is top priority for FIRST Security’s customer. Therefore, the solution had to be able to encrypt the data in a way that allowed it to be stored and managed in a completely private and secure manner. 

A catalyst for change

Over the course of the service, the PECCS team have developed and refined a set of standard operating procedures to facilitate prisoner escort. Although there are some systems and databases in place to service these processes, these systems were not adaptive enough to meet internal and customer needs. Beyond that, they didn’t fit with FIRST Security’s aspiration of being an industry leader in their use of innovative technology. 

In summary, FIRST Security sought a technology solution that would help them maintain the high operational standards they had already set within PECCS, while adding value to their customers using the levers of transparency, mobility and technological smarts.

While we didn’t want to change a lot of the actual processes involved in providing the service, we did want a solution that could automate elements of it and take a lot of the manual components of dealing with data online, removing human error and time of having to fill out paper.

Wade Wilson GM of Systems & Technology, FIRST Security

Historically, guards have organised their activities using a combination of physical paperwork and verbal instructions. The delivery mechanisms servicing these operations lacked the system logic needed for more optimal end-to-end performance. 

In terms of technology, FIRST Security envisioned a solution that would help them: 

  • Gain real-time job visibility

  • Manage PECCS tasks using digital tools

  • Establish a robust audit trail for FIRST Security and their clients

  • Reduce data entry errors in high-risk settings

  • Create an easily accessible digital prisoner record

  • Enhance employee and prisoner welfare 

  • Improve internal courthouse processes

  • Offer live prisoner tracking for customers

End-to-end Escort planning with an overview of escorts and assigned vehicles for comprehensive visibility.

Applying supply chain logic within non-supply chain ecosystems

Sandfield’s supply chain team, Origin, reviewed FIRST Security’s requirements and realised that, on a purely transactional level, the potential system elements needed were already aligned with some of the supply chain solutions that Origin already specialised in. 

From this realisation, a question: What would it look like if Origin could harness their existing supply chain knowledge and technology to deliver on FIRST Security’s requirements?

The Origin Platform provides a flexible framework that allows FIRST Security to dynamically plan, track and comprehensively review activities and events in near real-time. By promoting digital collaboration among both internal and external stakeholders, FIRST Security is able to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness through improved visibility and traceability.

Joseph Tu Software Developer, Sandfield

This line of thinking may seem somewhat counterintuitive initially, but, after comparing the key building blocks in Origin’s foundational system knowledge and FIRST Security’s presumed needs, some obvious functionality synchronisation quickly emerges:    

  • Track transportation from X to Y, including detailed information on any specific transport needs or services

  • Visibility into the status of any planned events or activities

  • Scheduling of both short- and long-range jobs

  • Resilient security protocols and reliable cloud services 

  • Data integrity — in the form of accessible and accurate real-time records

  • A mobile app for in-situ updates and processing

The result? Pou Whakahaumaru (“a service to protect, to safeguard, to secure, to be risk free”). This system utilises Origin’s foundational technology framework and overlays it with FIRST Security’s industry expertise to create a logistics and efficiency solution. 

A transport solution, in two parts

Pou Whakahaumaru is built on a dual-track approach. One piece of the solution is the mobile app, which can be accessed by staff in the field. The other aspect is the web application, which captures, stores and distributes the data in an useful and meaningful way so that office and planning staff can coordinate PECCS activities. 

At a very high-level, the web and mobile application benefits can be described as follows: 

Desktop capabilities

The web application has allowed planning staff to: 

  • Simplify planning and transportation timing by matching daily needs, guard availability and courthouse schedules 

  • Eliminate manual data entry by digitising information from field staff into FIRST Security systems

  • Access prisoner details to proactively handle medical issues, gang affiliation, segregation needs, etc. 

  • Keep a digital record of all jobs and events for client confirmation of KPIs

  • Stay updated on real-time prisoner and fleet locations

  • Log courthouse activities and movements

  • Plan events and exceptions for the internal team and customers

Web app view of the Escort Calendar to see daily schedules for ease of planning and logging of movements.

Mobile app capabilities

The mobile app has given guards the ability to: 

  • Update key events as they happen before and during transport as well as in the courthouse

  • Receive reminders to assist prisoner welfare checks

  • Access and update job instructions 

  • Remove the need to manually capture details of transport and custody activities on paper

  • Record and track any inventory (such as personal possessions) held by guards during transport 

  • Allocate prisoner locations within trucks during transport

  • Confirm staff member(s) who completed escort and courthouse activities

  • Manage and record court custody movements

Mobile app view of arrival times and special alerts for guards to update and review on the go.

Partnership between Sandfield and FIRST Security

From Responda (FIRST Security’s on-demand security app) to Pou Whakahaumaru, FIRST Security and Sandfield have a strong history of working together on breakthrough projects across different market opportunities. This partnership has led the two organisations to overcome the inherent limits of conventional thinking around what is possible with security technology and helped FIRST Security prioritise long-range goals over near future outcomes. 

The PECCS solution was a key differentiator in FIRST Security winning a major contract for their prisoner escort service and has allowed them to extend their vision beyond reactive thinking and instead plan for an expanded offering across a wider landscape. 

At the core of this partnership is a willingness to innovate in a way that prioritises the people involved — a belief that people come first and the right technology can help make this belief a reality. 

What I really like about working with Sandfield is they seem more like a partner to us. They’re very collaborative, they really understand our business and have put a lot of effort into understanding how our business works.

Wade Wilson GM of Systems & Technology, FIRST Security