Digital bids win backing from Police Transformation Fund

The Home Secretary has awarded £23m to projects that will drive the transformation of policing in England and Wales.

The projects have been awarded funding through the police transformation fund, which is police-led through the Police Reform and Transformation Board. Police and crime commissioner and chief constable representatives sit on the board alongside senior leaders in policing, with the final decisions on bids made by the Home Secretary.

The successful bids, from ten police forces and the College of Policing, include projects to support the transfer of digital crime scene images between forces, add new technology to the child abuse image database, improve procurement and collaboration, and fund a network of co-ordinators, analysts and prevention officers for the child sexual abuse national action plan.

A high proportion of the successful bids have digital transformation at their core and include:

  • £280,000 for West Yorkshire Police in 2016 to 2017, with a further £420,000 in 2017 to 2018 to explore solutions to enable a crime scene image such as a fingerprint and footwear print to be digitally transmitted from the crime scene to speed up analysis.
  • Norfolk Police has secured £726,000 in 2016 to 2017 and £247,000 in 2017 to 2018 to add further technology to the Child Abuse Image Database, which will include facial recognition software to identify whether the same victim has been depicted with different offenders and whether the same offender has been depicted with multiple victims.
  • £2.2m in 2016 to 2017 for Nottinghamshire Police, in collaboration with Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, for a project to eliminate duplication between forces and ensure they have access to a larger pool of information to help officers make faster and more informed decisions (a further £3.5m will be available to the project in 2017 to 2018).
  • £1.5m in 2016 to 2017 for Hampshire Constabulary, in collaboration with Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley, to improve information sharing between forces through a digital platform (this digital capability will provide a better service to communities, speed up prosecutions and assist with keeping victims updated).

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Our police do a fantastic job every day fighting crime and keeping communities safe. The latest figures show that public confidence in the police has risen and most people believe they are doing a good or excellent job.

“But the job of reforming the police must continue and these successful bids demonstrate exactly the kind of transformative thinking that we expect from forces, with creative plans which will enable them to be more efficient and serve their communities more effectively. While 10 forces will lead on the work, we expect these pioneering projects will benefit all 43 police forces across England and Wales.

“The police transformation fund is incentivising policing to meet future challenges, and I am delighted by the strong early response to the launch of the fund from police and crime commissioners and chief constables – it is clear that they share my passion and determination to finish the job of police reform.”

A full list of the successful bids can be found here.

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