Now is the time to move to digital policing

13 March 2018

We all know that the public safety community faces increasing challenges, doing more with less and tackling new kinds of crime. Technological transformation offers solutions that could significantly improve efficiency and deliver benefits across a range of areas. However, when faced with transformational change many people and organizations are reluctant to move forward in a different direction from their traditional one. The word ‘Transformation’ is potentially an uncomfortable one, suggesting that everything we do is wrong and needs to change.

The reality is of course that a change to digitally enabled policing methods is already happening. However as with any technology, the rate of adoption varies, and different organisations harbour concerns both cultural and procedural about which solutions to adopt and when. So some organisations prefer to remain with traditional solutions until enough ‘early adopters’ have taken the plunge.

At its simplest, policing is about keeping people safe and reducing crime. Traditionally, group-based voice communications have played a vital role in supporting officers to deliver on these two objectives and that will continue. But access to broadband and the increasing availability of the right solutions open up new possibilities.

There are barriers to overcome, such as the legalities around sharing of data to identify suspects and victims, but the technological barriers that prevented data sharing and management can now be overcome with cloud-based, decentralised storage and intelligent interfaces that help the operator to make the right decision at the right time.

And for officers on the frontline valuable time can be saved with mobile solutions, such as Pronto Biometrics, which gives real-time capability to check fingerprints against national database records without the need to return to base.

Technology is sometimes seen as a possible ‘de-humaniser’ – but here the opposite is true. Frontline solutions such as mobile fingerprint checks save valuable time and allow officers to remain visible.

Clearly, technology is just a tool, but the right technology used in the right way can transform everyday processes and ensure the best response when a critical incident occurs.

I believe that forces around the country are increasingly seeing the value of standardisation and collaboration. My message to those organisations who are still testing the water before they dive into their digital journey? Don’t worry, others have taken the first plunge with solutions that are future-proof and are delivering positive benefits today. Digital technology is becoming business as usual, helping blue-light organizations to work smarter.

Fergus Mayne, Head of Sales and Service for UK & Ireland, Motorola Solutions



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