UK Police Forces still hamstrung by lack of modern equipment, says Computacenter research


Computacenter, the independent provider of digital technology infrastructure and services, has announced new research findings that highlight significant technology limitations within the UK Police Force. 

A recent survey amongst IT decision-makers within the UK Police has highlighted that over 70 per cent of officers are requesting more IT devices to efficiency combat crime. Through the introduction of technology, such as body cameras, smartphones and tablets, the life of the ‘bobby on the beat’ could be significantly improved. 

These devices not only help to enhance officer and civilian safety; but they can capture evidence, and provide quick and automated access to information, freeing up valuable time and drastically improving response times and outcomes. 

Alongside a request for more IT devices, research showed 71 per cent of those surveyed want devices that are easier to use, to better serve the UK public. Although better devices top the IT wish-list for individual police, the research also highlighted force-wide transformations need to be prioritised. 

Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents cited that lack of access to modern applications and software to improve intelligence gathering was a challenge.  As part of this, the basic deployment of tools such as Microsoft Windows 10 and Office 365 were identified as valuable projects that could transform how police forces exploit digital technology. With the ability to capitalise on digital sharing, and a modern central infrastructure, officers will be able to improve on crime prevention and intelligence.

Rob Stanley, Computacenter’s Director of End User Services commented: “Collaboration tools make a massive difference to how police officers share intelligence with their colleagues. Criminals are increasingly using technology and routinely operate across county lines, so more effective sharing of intelligence is critical to solving cases faster.”

Looking into the lack of access to modern technology, the research highlighted that adoption of new tools, devices and applications, is being hindered by both a lack of awareness and the associated complexity of managing implementation and operation. With the need to remain within budget and resource constraints, UK Police Forces have prevented digital enhancements. 

James Searle, Computacenter’s Client Director responsible for police forces added: “Technology can be a great enabler, but it has got to be easy to use for time-pressed Police Officers. By empowering people with the right devices, Police Forces can bring an end to ‘yo-yo policing’ where officers have to return to a station to write up reports and research cases. Forces are under massive pressure, with fewer resources and higher rates of crime, so it’s important to look at methods that will allow them to work smarter, so they can spend more time making the UK a safer and better place to live and work.”

* The ‘Inside UK Police Forces’ report

About the research 

The ‘Digital Innovation Report - Inside UK Police, is just one in the series of the research papers Computacenter are carrying out.  The research was conducted by Censuswide.  The findings are based on interviews with 100 IT decision-makers working at police forces in the UK, which took place during March 2019

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