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Police technology

Neil Amos 

The Times 

4 May 2013


Letter to the editor 

As mobile technology evolves, forces should look for a service that enables them to adapt quickly to opportunities 

Sir, While Tom Winsor’s warning about the poor quality of much police technology is by and large correct, he is not making a new observation (report, Apr 29). Police leaders, the Home Office and Police and Crime Commissioners need to understand and address why opportunities offered by technology in the past have not been fully grasped. On a practical level, this means focusing on the outcomes that they want to achieve through technology and then exploring new ways of buying and implementing it. 

As mobile technology is evolving rapidly, for example, forces should look for a service that enables them to adapt quickly to opportunities as they come on stream — rather than just buying a single product that can become quickly redundant. They should challenge any preconceptions that police technology is always unique and start with a presumption of collaborating with other sectors and adapting proven solutions. And there should be much greater engagement with industry to explore ideas before procurement and to run procurement in a way that really tests propositions from suppliers. 

There are great examples of technology transforming police operations, such as automatic numberplate recognition, but there could be more. The first step is to understand the mistakes of the past. 

Neil Amos is a policing expert at PA Consulting Group  

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