Police force spends £6m on digital control room


Lincolnshire Police are spending almost £6m on a new digital control room which it claims will allow bobbies to spend more time on the beat.

The force – through its partnership with security outsourcer G4S – currently uses a mobile application called Pronto, developed by Motorola, which replaces much of the paperwork by allowing officers to access and input data from the street.

Speaking to Sky News, the force's assistant chief officer Andrew White said that being able to file crime and witness statements from the road already saves each officer roughly an hour throughout their 10-hour shifts.

The new system will allow officers in the field to access the Police National Computer – the centralised intelligence database for all police in the UK – as well as local resources held by East Midlands forces.

PC Nathan Addlesee said: "When you actually explain to the community and the public that by using the device and using Pronto, it's actually putting more police officers out on the ground where they can see us, rather than stuck in a police station doing our paperwork there, and as soon as you say that to them, they're fully behind it."

Image: The force already used 'Pronto' on mobile developed by Motorola

There will be other benefits to the digital control room according to ACO White, although he admitted it was "not yet fully clear what those opportunities will be".

The fixed cost for the system, which is also developed by Motorola, is just under £6m and covers a period of 10 years, with ongoing costs in the "low hundreds of thousands".

It provides Lincolnshire Police with technological capabilities which it can't currently do – even simple processes such as prioritising emergency calls.

Image: The digital drive is aimed at getting bobbies to spend more time on the beat

ACO White told Sky News that it "wasn't the most expensive and not the cheapest" and said he believed the force had "achieve the very best for the best value".

The system adheres to national cyber security standards administered by the National Cyber Security Centre, said Motorola's David Robinson.

Marc Jones, the police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire Police, said: "Our drive to provide cutting-edge technology to the force is about making sure we provide the most efficient and effective service to the people of Lincolnshire."

"The history of policing technology hasn't been a happy one, I don't think anyone would disagree with that," said ACO White, who added that there were "enormous benefits" to the force's relationship with Motorola and G4S.

ACO White stressed G4S brought "enormous benefits" to the force – something which Lincolnshire Police has championed since 2013 – even despite a scandal two years ago in which G4S staff indirectly employed by the force were sacked for making fake 999 calls.

Five employees in total were suspended from their G4S roles after the police's anti-corruption unit was tipped off about a scheme in which they were making emergency calls at quiet times to improve their performance ratings.

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"Things go wrong at times," said ACO White. "We're a complicated organisation. That was a thing that went wrong."

He added: "The way systems were manipulated in the past, you can't do that now. There is no incentive for those types of things to happen now or in the future."

Original Article


Sky News