Policing for a new age

20 November 2017

Technology, transformation and the future of law enforcement

It was an honour and a pleasure to be in the room at Portcullis House in Westminster recently.  I was attending a New Statesman round table:  Policing for a New Age: Technology, Transformation and the Future of Law Enforcement and I was in great company.   In the room were Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services along with leading figures from the Police community.

Virgin Media Business is a key provider of connectivity for blue light services across the UK and Ireland. Our long standing provision of digital services to local police forces across the country has given us unique insights into the challenges and opportunities the police force faces in the new digital age.

This led to our decision to partner with the New Statesman and host a roundtable to explore these challenges and to build a better picture of how connectivity and digital platforms present opportunities for the future of policing.

There was a great conversation that covered current challenges; such as adapting to meet changing demands and adjusting policing models so they fit today’s reduced budgets, as well as the opportunities that digital technology presents.

One key opportunity was presented by the findings of a recent survey by Accenture, that 75% of citizens would rather engage with the Police through a digital platform and yet only 20% of respondents are able to do so. Engagement is vital to the work the Police carry out every day, so having the relevant tools to encourage this is of key importance.

Of particular interest for me were the results from a recent survey we conducted with iGov that gave us some fascinating insights and dispelled a few myths, one such being that the biggest driver of digital transformation in the police force is not cost efficiencies, as we believed.  In reality the main driver is the improvement of service provision to the Public - putting the citizen at the heart of policing while modernising policing and increasing staff.  When it comes to barriers, although budget undoubtedly remains an issue, legacy infrastructure actually poses the most significant barrier.

After two hours of in-depth discussion - on everything from national networks to the role of the individual ‘digital policeman’ - I felt we all came away with a much clearer understanding of the future shape of law enforcement, as well as what we can work on together to make this a reality.

The New Statesman will be publishing the key findings from the event shortly, so follow @VirginMediaCorp to find out more.