Tech firms should join a coalition of the willing to support interoperability for police IT

Written by Jessica Russell on 30 August 2019 in Opinion
Opinion

Jessica Russell of techUK believes increased collaboration between the emergency services and technology partners could deliver improved public-safety outcomes

Credit: Adobe Stock Images

There is a common challenge across the agencies operating in the public safety ecosystem – the overlap of responsibilities as a result of ‘mission creep’. 

The catchphrase solution? Collaborative working

Whether it is the rise of the public health approach to tackling violent crime, as announced earlier this year by the former home secretary, or multi-agency collaboration for public safety outcomes, we are seeing different scales of the same underlying trend. Collaboration has become almost non-negotiable now and for the future of public safety services. 

It holds the key to a variety of approaches, from prevention, to monitoring, to criminal justice outcomes. Multi-agency working also makes way for the public safety ecosystem to include a wider array of actors and agencies, including those that have not traditionally had a public safety remit, but have an important role to play. These include the education, housing and voluntary sectors.

Our partners in the emergency services still express some frustration around interoperability challenges when it comes to tech

We know that technology has the power to facilitate more digitally enabled public safety service delivery. 

The tech sector provides the infrastructure and the tools that will provide joined-up services through interoperable systems and solutions. Our partners in the emergency services still express some frustration around interoperability challenges when it comes to tech and, as an ally, we are proud to be working with critical public safety organisations and our industry members to drive the changes needed here.

techUK is bringing interested members together to create a coalition of the willing to explore what interoperability could look like for policing suppliers and deliver the Interoperability for Policing initiative. This initiative complements our place-based innovation work, and the release of our report, Collaboration for public safety outcomes, which encourages public sector organisations to create the conditions for successful collaboration through culture, leadership, processes and procedures. We are working with police first as a result of our strong, long-standing relationship with various forces and national transformation programmes.

Our vision is that one day this initiative could be extended to transform the wider public safety and criminal justice ecosystem, because ultimately, we are working to ensure that our justice and emergency services are empowered by technology to continue their important work to keep us safe, and deliver critical public safety outcomes. 

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Interoperability for Policing initiative or would like to be involved in techUK’s wider work around the justice and emergency services, we are very keen to work to speak to you to drive this agenda forward. We will also be discussing this subject in focus with actors from across the public and private sectors at our Building the Smarter State Conference on 18 September. 

About the author

Jessica Russell is programme manager for Justice and Emergency Services at techUK

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