The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is to set up a new science and technology committee to drive its work in the area.
Chair of the organisation, Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, revealed the plan during his opening speech to the NPCC and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ Summit this week, while emphasising the importance of digital technology in future policing.
The committee will be chaired by a chief constable to support technology innovation, while the role of the police chief scientific advisor, Professor Paul Taylor, is being extended to oversee and advise on the efforts.
Stephens said: “I believe that science and technology will be the single biggest driver of reform in policing in the coming years. The pace is awe inspiring, daunting and exciting all at the same time.
“As the use of technology increasingly benefits society, it also benefits criminals and those who wish to do harm to our communities. Policing cannot stand still as technology evolves. If we do, our effectiveness in keeping people safe will be quickly eroded.
“Innovation and all that it brings quite simply enables our workforce to do their jobs better. We must push the boundaries of innovation; to be more agile, ensure early adoption and where proven to work, have the capability to quickly scale up nationally.”
NPCC has also appointed a new lead on robotic process automation, with an investment of £1.8 million identified to accelerate national adoption of the technology among police forces. It said this would help to free up police officers and staff from manual administrative tasks.
The organisation highlighted the potential of a number of technologies in policing, including digital fingerprint matching, facial recognition and drones. It pointed to the EagleX project under which drones are used as first responders to incidents.
Stephens also used the speech to highlight work on four technologies for policing - digital fingerprint matching, facial recognition, automation and drones - saying they “push the boundaries of technology and innovation to improve public safety".