The police never seem to be out of the news: in one national newspaper today there are no fewer than five major stories about police investigation practices, culture and competence – quite apart from straightforward crime reporting which inevitably involves the police.
But away from the headlines, there is a deeper story to be told about how the police are changing – one which in the long run will probably have a greater impact on this vital public service, and on society. The police and Government are quietly embarking on a billion-pound transformation programme to fundamentally re-engineer the way the police service works.
The programme will leave most if not all of the 45 territorial police forces in the UK intact, as a public-facing ‘cap badge’ at least. But behind the scenes collaboration between forces and with other public services will intensify to save money, improve information sharing and ensure the police have the large-scale, highly technical capabilities they need to face new challenges ranging from mass-casualty terrorism to online crime.
The digital dimension will become more and more important to policing: as our lives increasingly move online, so does crime and the way we expect to interact with public services. The public and the police also expect officers to be able to access vital information about crimes, offenders and victims instantly from anywhere, just as we can access our bank details, holiday bookings and social media pages. Just as important, the police know they need to start analysing digital data to understand, forecast and manage crime and vulnerability patterns, and so prevent crime and reduce demand.
To help the police respond to these challenges, the Government is providing up to a billion pounds of so-called Transformation Funding over the next four years. Police forces can bid for this money backed by a robust business case setting out the benefits they expect to deliver. To build a credible case, however, forces will need commercial partners to provide strategic capabilities in change and programme management, digital communications and data analysis, and tactical capabilities to respond to specific challenges.
This funding represents a significant opportunity for the commercial sector. But navigating the police market is challenging: it is territorially fragmented, has complex governance and a raft of existing alliances and partnerships which must be understood in order to build new relationships successfully.
Crest Advisory is delighted to be hosting a breakfast discussion on this transformation programme, its opportunities and challenges and how partners might engage with it. The speakers will be drawing on their previous experience as Policing Minister, Police and Crime Commissioner, and Chief Constable and HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. The briefing will take place in central London in early July. For more information and to book a place please email email@example.com
Gavin Lockhart-Mirams is Crest Advisory’s Chair and has led the team since setting up the company at the end of 2011.