Chapter 3

A new way of thinking

APCC/NPCC Policing Vision 2025

The increasing availability of information and new technologies offers us huge potential to improve how we protect the public...Digitisation also offers significant potential to accelerate business processes, manage risk more effectively and revolutionise the criminal justice process (9) .” Perhaps because of the sheer scale involved, the history of public sector IT deployments has not always been a positive one. The police service is no different. Top-down implementations appear to have an inherent capacity for overcomplication – and, unfortunately, failure. Yet both the need and desire for change remain. The time to think again has arrived.

In order to realise the potential of digitalisation, it is necessary to adopt a new mindset. Rather than implementing technology for its own sake, business needs should be considered first and foremost. Solutions should be adopted as they are required. Speaking in the GovNews/HSO podcast, How modern ERP strategies impact & enable Smart Policing across the UK, Superintendent Stan Gilmour, Director of the Thames Valley Police Violence Reduction Unit, expands on this subject.

Stephen Russell, Director of Data, Strategy and Technology for Warwickshire Police, concurs, reiterating the importance of a change of mindset. He suggests there has previously been an “underinvestment in the front end” explaining business needs must be considered as a whole. Continuing the theme, he goes on to discuss how incremental gains add up, delivering better results than might be seen through large-scale implementations. It is important to avoid “optimising inefficiency.

National Policing Digital Strategy, 2020-30

"We must make the best of local, front-line innovation and creativity; while finding the means to scale and deploy nationally and at pace.” (10)

A picture of a British mounted police

Today’s police service developed organically, with forces evolving to meet demand at a pace dictated by operational needs. Forward-looking leaders are realising that by making use of the latest technological developments, digitalisation, too, can be implemented organically. In fact, by adopting an almost distributed intelligence approach, each autonomous force can play its own part in a greater whole, powering success at both local and national level. Advances in areas such as cloud computing allow individual forces to implement solutions incrementally, at a pace that suits their own needs and budgets. Proof of concept trials are easily undertaken. Designed to be scalable, modern ERP platforms allow multiple systems to operate within a strong framework. Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be quickly and easily deployed without the need for a large investment in IT infrastructure

Tools such as Microsoft’s Power Platform are designed to work alongside legacy technology. Organisations unable or unwilling to replace existing systems can quickly create their own lowcode bespoke applications and have them work seamlessly with those existing systems. There is no longer a need to buy expensive and siloed off-the-shelf solutions, making it possible to redeploy specialised IT staff into more value generating roles. Far from presenting a disadvantage, the way in which UK police forces are structured provides an ideal foundation upon which to build

The Role of Technology in Modern Policing: Challenges and Opportunities

Watch the Episode 2 of the four-part series where we dive deep into the impact modern ERP strategies have and how it enables smart policing across the UK.