Former police officer who pioneered the use of onboard data recorders joins MiX Telematics

13 Aug 2015
Former police officer Robert Peel, who was a key member of a project team which pioneered the use of onboard data recorders at Surrey Police, has been appointed to the position of Project Consultant – Emergency Services for MiX Telematics. In his new role Robert will work to further develop the use and application of telematics solutions by emergency services organisations nationwide.

"We are delighted that Robert has elected to join our team," comments Steve Coffin, Marketing and Operations Director for MiX Telematics Europe. "We have long been an active player within the Blue Light sector and the experience and knowledge Robert now brings to us will help us further develop our offer in order to serve these essential services even better."

Robert joined the then Surrey Constabulary (it later became Surrey Police) in January 1971 and was there until 2002. During that time he specialised in the more technical side of traffic policing, collision investigation, vehicle and tachograph examination.

When Surrey decided to set up a single Collision Investigation unit at the end of 1998 he became one of the first members to join. He remained on the collision unit until retiring in 2002. During his time on the unit he assisted with a trial to see what effect the fitting of data recorders would have on the number of police vehicle incidents. In conjunction with the fleet department a number of divisional vehicles were fitted with Incident Data Recorders (IDR) and an early form of MiX Telematics' Journey Data Recorder (JDR). The trial was successful in all respects in both reducing the number of incidents and making those that did occur easier to investigate.

In fact in the very first incident involving a vehicle with a recording system completely exonerated the police officer from the allegations made by the other driver all by reviewing the vehicle data. However, despite the results at that time the decision was made not to go any further with the project and he duly retired and went to work for the Surrey Police Major Crime Team as an exhibits and disclosure officer.

In 2004 Robert was approached by the head of the Surrey Police Collision Unit and asked to go back to help set up a project to fit all Surrey Police Vehicles with data recorders. This involved assisting with the initial trials and developing the policy and procedures for the fitting, use, downloading and subsequent analysis of the data following an incident.

As part of this program Surrey Police set up a Police Vehicle Incident Unit, which is responsible for overseeing the investigation into each incident, and as part of Robert's role he carried out the data analysis for the unit.

It was during this time that both Robert and Surrey Police started to work with MiX Telematics to fit a number of vehicles with FM Communicators which were linked to the IDR units. Over a period of time Surrey worked very closely with MiX Telematics to ensure the device parameters were relevant to the vehicle users and the force's needs. The units provided very useful information in relation to vehicle usage and driver behaviour. The data was also used to show vehicle attendance at and time spent in local 'hot spot' or complaint areas. Over a fairly short period of time the incident rate for that division was reduced.

The MiX Telematics data was used to assist on a number of incidents that were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Committee (IPCC) and which on occasions was able to allow them to reduce the level of their involvement in the investigation.

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