£3m investment drives forward digital policing

Almost £3 million has been awarded to the five forces of the East Midlands region through the Home Office Police Innovation Fund to drive forward the use of advanced digital crime-fighting technology.

Apr 15, 2015
By Paul Jacques

Almost £3 million has been awarded to the five forces of the East Midlands region through the Home Office Police Innovation Fund to drive forward the use of advanced digital crime-fighting technology.

The bulk of the funding (£1.355 million) will be used to develop the East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) mobile working partnership agreement – commonly known as ‘Agile Working’ – between the Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire forces, which has seen them merging resources allocated to roads policing, armed policing, dogs teams and POLSA (police search adviser) search teams into one unit to address the threats posed regionally.

A new mobile ICT system will be developed to ensure officers have access to real-time information to make critical decisions, allowing them to update systems at any time and from any location while out on operation. This would include remote access to email, video conferencing capabilities and information sharing.

The new ICT platform will increase the time police officers can spend on the front line by reducing the need for frequent trips back to the police station as well as reducing duplication. It is anticipated that the new mobile working arrangements will enable officers to spend up to 20 per cent more time in the field, significantly increasing visibility.

The Home Office has awarded a further £1.267 million to help fund a new integrated single non-crime incident management system that will enable the regional forces to record and share intelligence on non-crime incidents that cannot be recorded as offences but could be vitally important for intelligence purposes.

The new technology will enhance the forces’ public protection capabilities and improve the way in which the region as a whole can proactively safeguard vulnerable children and adults and respond to those at risk. It is estimated detections could rise by up to two per cent (the equivalent of 1,750 cases) through supportive evidence across the forces.

Finally, £100,000 has been awarded to support and develop a new ‘digital lab’ within the East Midlands Special Operations Unit to enable regional intelligence officers to increase the capacity to investigate the use of computers, phones and other devices that may be used to commit crime online, including fraud, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and terrorism.

The investment will enhance the unit’s e-forensic examination capabilities and should significantly improve evidence-gathering in sophisticated online crimes.

Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole, who chairs the region’s Five Force Governance Board, said: “Policing is going through a process of transformation at the moment, with each of our forces having to review and change the way we deliver our services to protect the frontline policing which keeps our communities safe.

“With less money available through our central grants each year we all have to take advantage of the opportunity to bid for a share of the top-sliced funding. One of the many things we have been good at doing over the past decade is collaborating in many different areas of policing, and collaboration was one of the key criteria for the Home Office in this process.

“We are pleased that a number of our bids have been successful, in effect returning money to the East Midlands that had been top-sliced from our core budget.

“Each of these projects will add considerable value to the way we work and the way we are able to respond to incidents, to act upon intelligence and to gather evidence. The ultimate goal is to ensure we are providing a service that is not just what the public expects, but which actually increases public confidence in policing and reduces the fear of crime.”

Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Paddy Tipping said the Home Office funding recognised the good work being undertaken regionally to improve crime investigation and strengthen the response to new emerging risks such as CSE and cybercrime.

“The combined sum of the

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