Police Departments Aren't Embracing Tech

Date Entry
June 29, 2018

Police have long been relied on to stop crime - either by their presence discouraging would-be criminals, or by putting their efforts into solving crimes and handing the responsible parties over to the courts.  With an endless to do list of police work, it'd seem that departments around the world would embrace as much technology as they could to help fight and solve crime.  However, that doesn't seem to be the case, especially in the UK.  Why?  Policing is a "human business" that relies heavily on face to face work, and technology hasn't been so easy to utilize out on the beat.

But, a more troublesome problem has emerged for the 43 police forces of our Atlantic neighbor.  They simply don't know what tech they're buying and how to make the most of it, thereby wasting its usefulness.  Some tech that enables intraoperatively between departments isn't in use, negating any benefit of shared knowledge and resources.  Resources are needlessly duplicated as well, wasting money and effort.  Plus, data is still sent to courts on CDs, inserting lag time into processing cases, problems if the disk becomes damaged, and difficulties in archiving records.

Police departments are starting to realize that if they are to keep up with crime (often committed with the use of technology!), they have to get on board too, and departments are slowly working to achieve this.  In 2016, the UK National Police Chiefs' Council introduced its vision for policing in 2025, a vision which includes a much more integral use of technology.

“Collectively, we are trying to drag police technology from a place that feels terribly out of date into the modern age, but there is a will to do that,” said Nick Hurd, UK policing minister.  “There needs to be a plan around it and evidence that the police system buys into the plan and will implement it, and then there will be a resource requirement attached to that, which we intend to take to the comprehensive spending review.”

Under this new plan, police forces are encouraged to adopt systems that will talk to each other and share data seamlessly with other departments.  However, what it does not do is create a single police force.  All it simply does is help the 43 police units to work together in a cohesive, effective, and economical way, using something call the Network Code.  The Network Code is a new standard of common operating procedures and practices.  While there is no mandate that departments adopt these standards, the benefits of those who do will be obvious to all, encouraging even more adoption in the sector.

This article was based on a June 29, 2018 ComputerWeekly article by Lis Evenstad

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