Lack of tech integration in policing ‘a disgrace’, says Police Federation lead
Annual survey of officers finds that inadequate IT is prevalent
Credit: Adobe Stock Images
Only half of UK police officers claim that they can rely on the data held on their force’s computer systems, according to the results of the annual Police ICT User Survey.
The survey of 48 forces, and nearly 4,000 participants, was commissioned by police governance organisation CoPaCC, with the support of the Police Federation and the Police Federation of England & Wales, and the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents.
The subsequent damning report found that only two-thirds (65%) of officers were able to access a computer at work when they needed to, 63% were unhappy with the quality and timing of training they needed to use the equipment, and only 30% felt their force invested wisely in technology. Just 18% thought that their policing systems were well integrated.
More than half – 55% – were not happy with their force’s overall ICT, with only two percent completely satisfied with their ICT services.
- Government urges police to transform ‘for the digital age’
- Report calls for major government investment in digital policing
- Interview: Police ICT CEO on his drive for savings and standards
The survey also allowed participants to answer open questions, and some of the answers went further in explaining the frustration felt by police staff when it came to ICT.
One police staff member reiterated one of the common issues to plague police ICT for many years – of disparate systems which are not integrated, stating that she had to use up to 20 different police and external database systems, which meant an equal number of passwords and user names to keep track of.
“As far as I’m aware, none of these systems are able to talk to one another,” she said.
Simon Kempton, technology lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The overall picture is not a pretty one with officers trying to fight crime with out-of-date equipment which is not even compatible with the systems used in neighbouring forces. Procurement is also a massive issue, with millions being wasted on the wrong equipment. As one superintendent in the survey puts it, they take years developing systems which too often fail to deliver when off-the-shelf products would do so in 80-90% of cases right away.”
He added: “Poor training provision is another problem area, as is pointless duplication with officers forced to input the same data multiple times on separate systems. In 2018, when we are surrounded by virtual-reality products, people are using driverless cars and robots are carrying out life-saving operations, this lack of joined up functionality in policing is a disgrace.”
Despite the overwhelmingly negative responses, CoPaCC chief executive Bernard Rix said that in comparison to last year’s survey, there has been a “very slight improvement”, for example in providing more mobile devices. However, he emphasised that the picture was very similar to last year, which was “disappointing”.
Organisation is working through ‘some points of detail’ with four that are yet to sign
Cybercrime unit seeks partner to provide DevOps support
MPs warn of potential impact on access to justice
Digital agency pledges to ‘keep the policy as it stands’
BT presents findings from cryptocurrency firm Gemini on how they're providing customers with direct connectivity thanks to the Radianz network
BT outlines how a zero-trust approach is the best form of defence in a multi-attack vector environment
BT interviews Chris Roberts from Cisco to discuss the impact of our fast-paced culture on an enterprise’s network security measure
As part of October’s Cyber Security Awareness Month, BT is sharing their top tips on how keep information secure for both you and your organisation