Police forces around the UK are being urged to take significant steps forward in their digital transformation journeys, and encouraged to act sooner rather than later if they’re to keep up with demand in an increasingly digital world.
Whether your force is actively looking to make an investment in new tech or exploring ways to better utilise platforms already accessible in-house, using technology in the right way can arm officers (and other policing professionals) with an effective toolkit to better tackle various aspects of their role.
Ultimately, the technology you use day to day should be driving efficiencies and delivering tangible benefit, whether that’s handing officers back more time to spend in the community or helping protect your citizens and policing teams. Here, our policing experts have picked out some of the most impactful ways technology can improve policing processes.
Automation is on the up, and technologies such as facial recognition systems, automated license plate readers and video analytics can play a big part in helping identify suspects and vehicles involved in criminal activities. These tools are all enabling quicker identification and tracking of individuals and can significantly speed up the investigation process by reducing the need for manual identification, in turn, enhancing the efficiency of criminal investigations.
Advanced analytics and data-driven technologies can help identify patterns and predict crime hotspots. By leveraging historical data and utilising predictive algorithms, police forces can allocate their resources more effectively, deploying officers to areas with a higher likelihood of criminal activity. This proactive approach saves time by focusing efforts where they are most needed and can prevent crimes from occurring in the first place.
Instant situational awareness tools and real-time intelligence support officers and enhance their ability to assess risks, make informed decisions, and better prioritise their own personal safety while on duty.
Technological advancements have greatly improved the handling of digital forensics and investigation techniques in recent years. Streamlined case management of digital forensics not only enhances efficiency, but it can also have a significant impact on the accuracy of investigations – with increased accuracy leading to a rise in successful prosecutions and safer communities.
By increasing reliance on technology, officers can significantly reduce the amount of time they need to spend on administrative tasks and manual data input. Digital systems for case management, incident reporting and record keeping can automate repetitive processes, reducing duplication of tasks and risk of human error. These systems go hand in hand with apps like the Power Apps for Policing pocket notebook, which helps officers capture information quickly and access it back at headquarters.
Technology works wonders for communication, enabling faster and more efficient exchanges within police departments and between officers on the frontline. Mobile devices, secure messaging platforms, and real-time data sharing systems facilitate instant communication, reducing delays and allowing officers to coordinate their actions swiftly.
With self-service functionality, citizens can safely report non-emergency incidents online, reducing the need for physical visits to police stations. Online reporting systems allow individuals to provide information and (where required) supporting evidence, saving time for both the public and police personnel. Self-service portals can provide access to routine services like obtaining police reports or requesting information, too, driving further time-savings for citizens and call handlers alike.