Along with the UK’s ambitious Policing Vision 2025, the National Enabling Programmes (NEP) was established to help the 43 individual police forces in England and Wales work and collaborate more effectively, tapping into a shared set of technology best practices and national standards in digital policing. By taking advantage of a selection of digital technologies, the ultimate goal is to better equip these police forces so that they in turn can serve and protect their communities.
Today, much of these police forces’ work is digital. To ensure that data and communications are kept secure, the NEP has adopted class-leading, everyday technologies that help police work better together. In addition to simplifying their work flows, it allows officers to be more efficient in the way they document information, allowing them to spend less time doing menial tasks.
With cybercrime on the rise – and becoming increasingly targeted, sophisticated and complex – the police need more powerful tools to help them track down and stop the activities of emerging criminal and terrorist networks.
“By equipping police forces with innovative and secure services, we’ll help them find new ways to work better – even in the most high-pressure situations – help improve the use of digital evidence through the police and justice systems and build the foundations that help them collaborate.”
Working for a more connected future
The NEP’s work centres on introducing a secure, trusted cloud-based digital platform along with the tools, applications and services that help each police force work more efficiently.
By delivering these programmes on a national basis, there are significant economies of scale, common standards and consistency in the way that police forces adopt technology. This is a plus operationally, but also brings considerable financial benefits through better ways of working.
Alex Bowen, Deputy Director for Delivery of the NEP, discussed the organisation’s role in delivering a better technology experience to police officers.
“The rate that crime has evolved in policing has changed the way that we have to think about our technology; we have to think wider and bigger.”Alex Bowen, Deputy Director for Delivery, NEP
At the heart of this, according to Bowen, is the management of risk.
“We have to effectively manage the risk of using public cloud technology. There’s no point in making it so secure that nobody could use it. So connectivity for forces is really important, especially those rural forces that have large geographic areas to cover that will typically have poor network coverage. That’s where products like NetMotion come in, because it helps to manage that experience for the officer in the background. The OS doesn’t have to do anything; the technology is doing it for them, which is what we wanted to do, because we don’t just need a standard VPN, we need something a bit more advanced than that on occasion.”
Being geographically dispersed, often with poor cellular connectivity, is one of the largest problems faced by the police forces. In some cases, a remote expert may be available to provide advice and guidance from as far away as 100 miles, so technology is critical in closing the gap. All of this relies on a rock-solid, reliable connection.
“We have a duty to the public to stay at that cutting edge. And if we don’t, we’ll lose that faith and that trust from the public.”Alex Bowen, Deputy Director for Delivery, NEP
At the end of the day, sharing technology and best practices is the best way to ensure that each police force can adapt quickly to the needs of the community.
Bowen concluded by saying, “If you silo yourself into component deployment, you lose the business changeability, you lose that ability for departmental staff to innovate themselves or understand how the tooling can fit and work within their department end-to-end. Our use cases are quite broad and encompassing, so our job is to show people how to adopt and use the technology and understand how they can embed it into their way of working.”
Alex Bowen’s video is part of our Words of Wisdom series from industry experts. You can watch it below.