Home Office Minister Damian Green has said that centralised IT for police is a ‘thing of the past’ and he wants there to be a technology revolution for the forces over the next five years.
In a speech to think take Reform, Green said that technology has transformed the way we live our lives, but it has not transformed the way the police do their jobs. For example, he asked why if an officer is at a social event can he or she take a photo and upload it to the internet immediately, but at work they have to wait for a special camera to arrive?
He said: “We could see pen and notebook replaced with voice recognition technology or manually sorting paper files replaced by automatic uploading to cloud storage.”
The government set up a company last year to help police forces procure ICT services more cost-effectively, and Green hopes that the Police ICT Company can transform how the police buy and use technology. He said it will act as a “gateway to private sector expertise” and will help “drive innovation”.
Most importantly, Green argued that the company will not be overseeing the creation of a new central IT system that does everything – much like the failed National Programme for IT in the NHS – but will be working with forces to deliver technology tailored to local circumstances.
However, he added that: “Underpinning that localised approach should be clear ‘rules of the game’. We will do the boring bit by setting the technical standards and ensuring data is collected in compatible formats, and available to those who need it.
“And we we’ll make sure people know how to secure a larger range of devices for officers.
“But the innovators – from both forces and the private sector – can go out and provide apps and software that give value to the taxpayer, stop police officers wasting their time and ensure the public is protected and crime is tackled.”