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Police to spend more on software and IT services



TechMarketView report highlights response to austerity and increased move to cloud services

Police services are going to provide the highest growth in the public sector for investment in software and IT services (SITS) over the next few years, according to a new report from IT analyst company TechMarketView.

Its UK Police SITS Supplier Landscape and Market Trends 2017-18 indicates that, while policing accounts for a relatively small share of the public sector market, its prospects for growth look the strongest.

The company has forecast that police forces’ spending on software and IT services will rise from £425 million in 2016 to £560 million in 2020, amounting to compound annual growth of 7.2%.

Report author Dale Peters told UKAuthority that this is partly in response to the financial pressures to work differently.

“It’s only in more recent years that there has been proper collaboration between forces,” he said. “In many cases there are still 48 different ways of doing things, but austerity has forced them to think about how digital can help them address the issues and the changing nature of crime. They can see digital helps them.”

He pointed to two developments that have changed the outlook, largely in the form of a growing readiness to use cloud services, overcoming a long held resistance.

Video factor

One is the sharp growth in the use of body worn video by police officers, which although not affecting the figures in the forecast (as it comes under hardware), has led to an increasing demand for data storage and the ability to do more with video evidence. It has been bolstered by the growing capabilities of smart phones and the ability of most people to collect photos or video that could be passed to the police.

The second came just last month when the National Police Information Risk Management Team provided approval for the use of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, two of the major options, following a security assessment of the physical infrastructure of the two companies.

“It doesn’t provide a warranty, but it provides more confidence for the police that somebody said it is okay to use the technology now,” he said, adding: “We’ll now see more interesting things put into the cloud, where they can start to do things with evidence that they wouldn’t be able to do before.”

The report identifies Capita as the largest supplier to the sector, pulling in more than £100 million over business over the past year, followed by BT Group and CGI. It says the leading suppliers tend to be working with several police forces and involved in national areas of law enforcement through contract with the Home Office and/or the Ministry of Justice.

 Image from iStock

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