Foreword | Commissioner Ian Dyson
The increasing pace of technology advancement, like a new industrial revolution, brings with it fresh challenges and some important opportunities for policing. For example, the method by which crime can be committed has evolved, and so too must the policing response in order that we can continue to protect the public in the future.
Meanwhile, data volumes continue to grow, posing challenges to every business. Handling our data ethically and effectively sits at the heart of many opportunities for public services, and it must underpin all processes; it cannot be viewed as optional and must be at the forefront of technological advances, by design and default rather than as afterthought.
In this digital age, providing a policing service to the public in siloes will be far less effective. Now more than ever policing has an appetite to collaborate, and to stretch further than across force boundaries, looking outwards to include other partners such as local authorities and the private sector. Technology is a tool that can enable such collaboration, through interoperability and convergence. However, new technology can be a retrograde step if considered in isolation and as a standalone solution. Culture, leadership, people and processes need to be aligned to support and maximise the benefits that technology can provide to your business, whatever it may be, and policing is no exception.
Public services are facing new and increasing demand, whilst operating within a financially constrained environment where intelligent decisions are needed before spending public money. Getting the right technology tools in place and using them well is vital to provide greater efficiency and could be a route to alleviating some of the pressure on public services.
There is an onus on all involved in the implementation of new technology to ensure that it is fit for purpose, cost effective, and enables greater collaboration between policing and their partners. Working together, technology can be an effective enabler of better public service.
Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM, City of London Police
Chair of the Information Management & Operational Requirements Coordination Committee (IMORCC). National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
Technology is instinctively designed to assist collaboration. Technology can enable seamless integration of services to improve quality of processes and outcomes. While a data enriched place can enable services to be more targeted to the needs of citizens. The pressures on local public services can’t be underestimated. With growing citizen expectations and increasing demand, organisations are reengineering their approaches to provide improved citizen outcomes.
This timely paper includes practical examples of how technology can improve public safety outcomes, as well as engender change and build capacity across the local area and place. It also provides recommendations on what local public service organisations can do to create the conditions and environment to make transformation a success. Technology is the easy part. For transformation to be meaningful it must be supported by processes and procedures championed by senior leadership too.
We hope leaders, not just digital leaders, will use the paper as a practical tool to drive transformation and understand what the art of the possible can be when it comes to multi-agency working.
The inception of the Police National Computer gave all UK forces access to a series of databases of relevant local and national information.
The introduction of the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES system), a national system to improve information management for investigating major incidents.
The Soham Murders lead to the Bichard Report.
Bichard Report recommends that a national police intelligence system be set up.
Laming Report is commissioned by HM Government following the ‘Baby P’ case. This report identified significant problems regarding day-to-day information sharing between different agencies to protect children. Lord Laming wrote that “the laws governing data protection and privacy are still not well understood by frontline staff or their managers. It is clear that different agencies (and their legal advisers) often take different approaches.”
The Police National Database (PND) went live.
Report ‘Attacks in London and Manchester between March and June 2017,’ highlights shortcomings in the way the security service and the police work together and share intelligence with local police forces and local authorities.
Review conducted by Lord Carter, Operational productivity and performance in NHS England Ambulance Trusts: Unwarranted Variations, calls for a “renewed emphasis on technological innovation”, stating that “new technology is not adopted rapidly across the service and this, plus the weakness identified in the control centre infrastructure, must be addressed. Ambulance services need to plan for tomorrow’s service today and develop robust plans to rapidly improve the resilience of the infrastructure.”
Launch of the Local Digital Declaration - a joint endeavour initiated by the UK Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the Government Digital Service (GDS), and a collection of local authorities and sector bodies from across the UK and techUK as co-publisher. With over 160 signatories, including two fire and rescue service, the aim is to co-create the conditions for the next generation of local public services, where technology is an enabler rather than a barrier to service improvements. Never before has it been possible to collaborate so effectively across local public services and boundaries.
Social Care Digital Innovation Programme launched as a collaborative effort between the Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS Digital to support digital innovation in social care. This is the third wave of this programme. Winning projects could “range from new assistive technology to data analytics to predict demand”. This programme alone indicates a “collaborative first” mindset and approach to the development and delivery of solutions to challenges that do not and should not fall solely under the responsibility of one public sector organisation or agency.
YouGov results that show (after Brexit) “Crime” is rated as a higher concern than “Health” by the public.
Home Office announces a Public Health Approach to tackling violent crime. The approach aims to encourage a more collaborative effort to delivering public safety and supporting vulnerable people.
Research demonstrates that there is a spectrum of multi-agency working:
- No evidence of joined up working. Siloed, untransferable or inaccessible data.
- Existing forms of practice and coordination - with some evidence of joint working.
- Virtual links between agencies that aid information sharing and decision making.
- Co-located hub enabling real time information sharing, decision making & communication (MASH).
MASH is the most common model of formalised multi-agency working and is associated with significant improvements in safety service delivery, particularly around child services.
Case Study | Single Online Home
The Digital Public Contact strand of the Digital Policing Portfolio, is delivering a project, the Single Online Home, which provides digital ways for the public to engage interact with police forces “that are as trusted as 999”. The Single Online Home:
- Offers a broad range of online reporting and transactional services
- provides real channel choice for the public, enabling engage interaction with the police in ways that align with changes in expectations and behaviour
- captures and filters information effectively and efficiently helping to triage reports and direct them to the relevant force
- provides a national consistency of service while maintaining forces’ local identity and connection with communities.
The Single Online Home is a significant transformation project that involved not only the introduction of new technological tools, but a change in the internal approaches to managing public contact. Having brought together the technology tools, internal processes, procedures and organisational culture, the Single Online Home project is already demonstrating its benefits to both policing and the public, helping to reduce 101 call volumes and reduce police processing times.
Case Study | Establishing an office of data analytics
London has previously piloted an office of data analytics, and West Midlands secured one as part of its new devolution deal – to overcome obstacles to data sharing and use analytics to better manage demand. 2017 saw the launch of the Worcestershire Office of Data and Analytics (WODA). It brings together partners across the local government public service landscape to introduce innovative ways to address the challenges of the place and use data to bring frontline insights that will create a data-driven culture and drive digital transformation. There is a clear governance structure in place including a Partnership Executive Board; Chief Data Officer; and WODA Information Governance Group.
With the trends of office of data analytics, other localities should explore the existing best practice out there to see what model can work for them in helping to share data more confidently between local public service partners as well as help create a culture of collaboration.