Document from national organisations points to need for digital evidence, tech skills and better data sharing
Police forces have been directed towards an increased emphasis on digital technology, more consolidation of IT functions and the need for common data standards over the next 10 years.
Titled Policing Vision 2025, it has been published this week and developed by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), in consultation with the College of Policing, National Crime Agency, staff associations and other police community partners.
They said that all chief constables and police and crime commissioners have signed up to the vision.
One of the document’s priorities for reform is to bring together business support functions, including IT, in cross-force units or integrate them with local authorities and other emergency services. This will involve more shared procurement to reduce costs.
The priorities also include an increase in training officers to respond to internet crime, to make the processes for sharing evidence digital, and give the public the option of reporting crime online.
Another emphasises the need for more integration with health, education, social services and community projects to do more to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. This will have implications around the sharing of data and the interoperability of IT systems used by the different agencies.
The detail of the document includes an emphasis on “digital policing”, with the aims of improving the use of digital intelligence and evidence and making sure that all material could be transferred to the criminal justice system in digital formats. “Evidence has now gone digital,” it says, “and there is a requirement to ensure it is accessible, readable and has long term integrity.”
This will involve a number of steps, including the College of Policing and Police ICT Company providing an evidence base of solutions that work, encouraging the take-up of technologies, and developing digital investigation and intelligence capabilities. There will also be efforts to build up online interactions with the public, while balancing it with more traditional methods.
There are also commitments to work more closely with other public agencies ̶ which will need better data sharing and joint technology solutions ̶ build up the relevant skills in police forces, and to make the business support functions more consistent and efficient.
One element of the latter point will be for the organisations behind the document to work with the Police ICT Company on common data standards, and encouraging national approaches to technology investments.
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners chair Vera Baird QC (pictured) said: “Police and crime commissioners are focused on ensuring that transformational change in policing is delivered, with local policing and accountability to the public very much at the core.
“People want a responsive service that is able to tackle the future challenges and embrace the future opportunities of policing. This vision sets out how the service needs to use technology to make it easier for the public to interact with the police, how it needs to attract and retain a confident and professional workforce and how much we intend to work with other agencies to work together to ensure that people are kept safe.”
The development confirms the importance of several of the themes identified in the round tables staged earlier this year by UKAuthority with the support of Microsoft, and the resulting white paper, Digitising Policing.
Image from Northumbria PCC