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Digital policing

Using technology to improve your force’s performance

The potential of digital solutions goes beyond saving money. With improved performance in preventing and solving crime alongside improving public safety, they can also make policing more efficient and effective. But computer systems in many police forces are struggling to cope - and making change holds unknown risks, including potential issues around compatibility and data protection.

Policing in England and Wales is organised into 43 independent forces, many still using technology that isn’t up to the increasingly demanding task.

Although many recognise an urgent need to update and adopt new computer systems, they may feel paralysed over what to do – locked in to a contract or understandably nervous that migrating to a new system could reveal that data formats are incompatible.

In some cases, there are even more fundamental questions about understanding what data the force actually holds and abiding by the complex legislation around how it can be held and used.

Drawing on our expertise and experience, we have identified three broad areas where police forces are facing serious digital challenges and where we can help.

First, there are the legacy systems hindering transformation and needing major investment just to maintain them and keep them safe from new threats.

Second, there is the struggle to pull together data from across various systems to display it in helpful and meaningful ways. Having the right management information available in real time allows both senior officers and those on the front line to ensure officers and resources are in the right place at the right time.

Third, there’s the problem of making best use of the data, whether that’s to prevent crime, improve incident response times, achieve better investigative outcomes, or make internal processes more effective.

55% of respondents to the CoPaCC Police ICT User Survey said they are not satisfied with their force’s overall ICT provision

Policing Insight/CoPaCC

Our approach

Underestanding the current state of legacy IT requires assessment of more than just the technology

Modernising your system

Many police forces are working with old technology which is not delivering as it should, but what is the best way forward? You may be locked into a long-term contract with a provider, and even if you are free to move, the data may be in an incompatible format or there may be unknown knock-on effects.

Outdated legacy systems can make some organisations feel trapped, with no easy way out. If you focus on maintaining and repairing, you may not fix underlying issues, and will just be spending money to prolong the life of a system which isn’t fit for purpose.

But if you remove parts of it, what will happen? Will switching one part of the system cause another part to break?

Identifying the right approach for your organisation will depend on your strategic objectives. We can bring our experience and expertise to offer an independent viewpoint and advise you on the best way forward.

We can also support you through each step of your transformation, wherever you are on that path.

We have worked with clients across the public sector, including major police services, and on some of government’s most complex technology transformation programmes.

We understand how to deliver change under financial and regulatory pressures, while ensuring the system keeps working.

Visualising your data

Data is of little use if it is not easily understood and joined up effectively to show the big picture. That means presenting it in ways that are clear and timely, to inform decisions and improve policing. Visualising data typically means using dashboards to present different data sets at a glance, but many forces are still relying on manual spreadsheets, which is not only time-intensive, it lacks vital immediacy and clarity.

Many forces hold performance data and information in various systems and in different formats. It’s a challenge to pull it all together in a way that will provide insight and inform decisions.

Compiling this information manually on spreadsheets takes time and effort, and may not present the data in an easily understood way.

If you want to answer questions about where and how to deploy the right number of officers, it’s much easier if you have the right information presented clearly and promptly.

We can build a suite of interactive, user-friendly dashboards for you, along with the business capability you need to make them work best for you – whether for your command teams or the front line.

We can also give you the capability to develop dashboards and insights for yourselves, so you can always have the right information to help you in the future.

Using your data more effectively

Police forces accumulate a vast amount of data over the years, and much of it can be highly valuable if used correctly. But forces often lack adequate ways to analyse the data they hold and are sometimes even unaware of all the data in their systems. There’s a real challenge in using it effectively to improve processes and ultimately keep citizens safer.

Forces collect an increasing volume of data across multiple systems. It’s a critical asset, which if used correctly, can drive better performance across the force. This improvement in turn can lead to improved response times, investigative outcomes, and public safety.

We can run a project with you, looking across every force function to help create an actionable plan on how you can access and make best use of your data. In the first phase, we aim to identify quick wins that can be mobilised immediately, so you see improvement straight away.

We then build on this to help ensure further improvements and show you how to grow your data analysis capability in-house.

Contact us

David Bendall

David Bendall

Partner - Technology lead for PwC Home Affairs and Policing, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 947145

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