Q&A: UK policing prepares to grow and transform

At a busy time for policing, what is the role of the Police ICT Company?

The Police ICT Company has repositioned itself and aims to  sit at the heart of policing, and I want it to play a pivotal role to enable transformation across the police service. Our main goal is to support and help drive transformation for the benefit of the public. We need to use technology more effectively, efficiently and bring cutting-edge capabilities to policing faster. Police and crime commissioners and chief constables are committed to the delivery of the Policing Vision 2025. We are too. This sets out how we use our resources to provide accessible services that keep people safe. We’re working with chief information officer colleagues from the National Police Technology Council (NPTC). We are in the process of finalising the National Digital Strategy which underpins the Policing Vision. We’re looking from a policing perspective to see what we want from suppliers. Collaborating with them, we can bring the best solutions to market. A win-win in my book. We’ve seen lots of investment in fintech and govtech, and we want policetech to become a brand in that same vein.


What are the shackles that constrain policing from embracing new technologies and what can you do to free them up?

Criminality doesn’t stop to wait for policing to catch up, including with new technology. We must be one step ahead to ensure we land projects on time, consume in the most effective fashion and ideally aim to exceed benefits profiling. Policing needs to prioritise what it employs and when it deploys it. We have a lot of work to do around accuracy and quality of the data we collect. We need to share and get the value out of the information we gather and hold. At a policy level, we must ensure the legislative framework in which we operate delivers both an ethical environment and protection for the public. Tech needs to give us the ability to make fully informed decisions. If we start to get all that right, we’ll turn into a truly digitally enabled workforce.


What’s the ultimate impact of these technology investments in making policing more efficient, productive and effective?

If we get the people, data and tech structures right, we can begin to do things differently. We can embrace artificial intelligence and improve mobility, cloud consumption and process automation adoption. We can introduce capabilities that enhance the skills of our workforce in fantastic ways. If we can reduce the timeline to buy, we can transform the ways our people work sooner and proactively, rather than operating in a reactionary way. We’re working on the concept of digitally supported officers and intelligence-led staff as an enabled unit, powered by technologies such as body-worn video and remote access to critical systems. We can go further to create an agile, accessible and mobile workforce that is informed by good quality data and tools. Technology is a powerful enabler, but we need to balance the investment with the outcomes.


The Police ICT Company has just signed a collaboration agreement with Fortrus. What’s the background to this?

We scoured the market to look for an innovative approach to delivering technology more effectively and efficiently, and had found only traditional commodity or managed service frameworks. The Fortrus Framework enables the Police ICT Company to deliver strategic capabilities and outcomes across a myriad of supplier solutions. We can deliver everything from commodity through to digital transformation solutions.


How is this work progressing?

It will surpass our early expectations, I’m sure. It is the only framework that fully enables us to meet our remit. Not only can we provide Police ICT branded and validated solutions, but we can deliver the latest technologies to policing at an agile pace that outstrips other procurement timelines. Police ICT and the NPTC provides the relationship and technical expertise, Fortrus powers the route to market. Our shared in-depth knowledge of the market will help police forces achieve value for money. A single systems integrator approach, or pure commodity framework, simply wouldn’t work for us. We needed a multi-supplier marketplace from cutting-edge innovation companies through to more traditional IT supply chains. Fortrus provides that flexibility. With the recruitment of new police officers high on the national agenda, we now have an opportunity to improve the sourcing and supply of technology and technology-enabled outcomes that will keep people safe, effectively pursue criminals and prevent crime in the first place. The Police ICT Company, the NPTC and our partners can now ensure we maximise our investment in meaningful outcomes that change the face of policing for the better.


To find out more please visit ict.police.uk and fortrus.com