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Police win funds for digital information schemes



14 projects run by English and Welsh police services get shares of £23 million from transformation funds

Cash to enable police forces to share digital crime scene images and to expand the Child Abuse Image Database will be handed out today.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is to announce £23 million of funding for “14 ground-breaking projects that will drive the transformation of policing in England and Wales”.

They include:

  • £1.5 million for Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley forces - to improve digital information sharing in order to “speed up prosecutions and assist with keeping victims updated”.
  • £700,000 for West Yorkshire Police - to allow fingerprints and “footwear prints” to be sent digitally from a crime scene to speed up analysis.
  • £973,000 for Norfolk Constabulary - to add further technology to the Child Abuse Image Database, including facial recognition software. This will identify whether the same victim has been spotted with different offenders and whether the same offender has been spotted with multiple victims.
  • £5.7 million for Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire forces – to “eliminate duplication between forces” and share information to make faster decisions.

Rudd (pictured) said: “Public confidence in the police has risen and most people believe they are doing a good or excellent job.

“But the job of reforming the police must continue and these successful bids demonstrate exactly the kind of transformative thinking that we expect from forces, with creative plans which will enable them to be more efficient and serve their communities more effectively.

“While 10 forces will lead on the work, we expect these pioneering projects will benefit all 43 police forces across England and Wales.”

The £23 million comes from the Police Transformation Fund, a £76.4m pot in this financial year to “incentivise policing to meet future challenges”.

Final decisions

Police and crime commissioners and chief constables sit on a joint board, with final decisions on bids made by the home secretary.

Today’s announcement is one of very few financial handouts made since Theresa May became prime minister last month, in the calm before the autumn “re-set” of the economy.

A further round of police transformation funding will be announced later in the year, when the remaining cash available will be allocated.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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