The Government is investing more than £100 million of the Police Transformation Fund (PTF) in projects designed to prepare police forces to adapt to the challenges of the future. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved up to £70 million for investment in 2018-2019 in four national major police-led programmes covering forces in England and Wales and to manage the portfolio of projects to ensure maximum benefits are shared among forces.
The programmes will transform how the police use technology, make it easier for the public to engage with police online and boost capacity to deal with major threats.
Altogether, this will help to support the police in preventing and combating existing serious crime and being better equipped to deal with new types of crime.
The Home Office has also announced 15 successful bids to the PTF totalling £42.7 million across 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: “Criminals don’t stand still, and neither should our police forces. We’re determined to support police leaders in creating a modern, agile and responsive police service. The Police Transformation Fund is delivering real change in policing, and this new funding will continue to help forces improve efficiency and tackle threats like serious and organised crime.”
National programmes in progress
The four police-led national programmes, which are already underway, include:
*The National Enabling Programme: This will deliver a unified IT system across policing and ensure more joined-up working within and between forces. In Cumbria, for example, cloud-based note-taking technology allows officers preparing to question suspects in custody to view real-time information from victim interviews being conducted by other officers elsewhere, thereby improving the response offered to those affected by crime
*Specialist Capabilities Programme: This will improve force-to-force resource sharing in key crime areas like roads policing and armed policing. In cyber crime, for example, the programme seeks to ensure forces can tackle digitally-dependent crime, with oversight provided through Regional Organised Crime Units
*The Digital Policing Portfolio: This aims to improve the police’s use of technology, including by creating a single online hub. The hub allows members of the public to report low-level incidents – such as minor road collisions – online rather than having an officer manually record the information at their local station, providing a better service to the public and improving efficiency for the force
*Transforming Forensics: This will improve how biometric services and digital forensics are used, including the development of a 24/7 fingerprint identification service
Delivery of cash savings and improved efficiencies
The national programmes are expected to deliver cash savings, as well as improving efficiency by, for example, freeing up officers for front line policing roles. Funding will be released in stages to the programmes subject to progress in delivery to provide ongoing assurance of this major investment.
The PTF was launched in May 2016 and aims to help the police service respond to changing crime and shape policing for the future.
In Phase 1 (2016-2017 to 2017-2018), 98 projects benefited from £223 million of funding. For Phase 2 (2018-2019 to 2019-2020), investment will focus squarely on the national programmes and meeting the demands of serious and organised crime.