Northgate Public Services (NPS), a supplier of IT solutions for police forces and a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, has acquired APD Communications – a software supplier to the emergency services, public safety and control room markets – for an undisclosed sum.

APD will continue to operate under its current name and its management team and operational staff will remain in place. APD will remain based in Hull, East Yorkshire, and operate as a business unit within NPS’ Safety Division. NPS sees APD’s solutions as being highly complementary and natural additions to existing public safety portfolio and customer base.

According to NPS, more than 50 per cent of UK police forces are currently using its crime, custody and intelligence management system, CONNECT, to manage information on victims and crimes. APD’s mission-critical communications command and control solutions are used by more than two-thirds of UK police forces and also by major transportation hubs and airports, including Gatwick and Dubai international airports and the London Underground.

In the company’s announcement, NPS stated that bringing these two sets of technologies together could bring ‘untold benefits to the emergency services and the public’.

Ian Blackhurst, Northgate Public Services's executive director of safety and health, said: “If data can flow freely from an emergency call in the control room instantly into the hands of a police officer on the street, then response times can be improved dramatically. If that data is then combined with known historical information about the caller or the address, officers will have the potential to determine the threat, risk and harm of each incident and respond exactly as needed, improving the safety of citizens.”

He continues: “This acquisition is a great opportunity for us to expand our offer and will bring substantial value to customers of both APD and NPS. Both companies are very excited about our future together. Our working practices are already very similar so we will be able to start adding value to our solutions straight away.”

Mike Isherwood, APD's managing director, said: “Joining the NPS team enables us to accelerate our strategic plan and achieve our ambitions. The synergy between our products and customers is really exciting. Together, we will be stronger and have the resources and capability to provide innovative solutions that keep our customers at the forefront of digital public safety delivery.”

Speaking to Land Mobile, Isherwood added that “…being part of the NEC family gives us a global reach that we didn’t have before”. He explained that a lot of APD’s growth has come from international markets, so “having that additional reach and [the] backing and support from a global business is tremendous”.

He said that due to the acquisition, APD “have access to additional research and development capabilities that we didn’t necessarily have before…”

Isherwood also said while “NEC’s technology, Northgate’s technology and APD’s technology actually link quite well and tight integration between the platforms is obviously part of the future,” APD’s strategy of embracing “open APIs is one that’s embraced by NEC and Northgate…. It’s not a case of us creating an end-to-end system that locks people in.”

Author: Sam Fenwick