Last month the Police Digital Service celebrated the successful completion of our first year in operation. In January 2020, we launched the National Policing Digital Strategy 2020 – 2030 setting out the roadmap towards a more digitally enhanced police service. The start of the pandemic shortly after, and the disruption that it has caused over the previous two years, has made the benefits of digital technology and its role in enabling work with colleagues and partners clearer than ever.
During PDS’s first year we have made significant strides forward, working with pace and purpose to support delivery of our strategic ambitions within the National Policing Digital Strategy. We’re working hard to keep the public safe by harnessing digital, data and technology capabilities to create a “seamless citizen experience” whilst “addressing harm”; two of the key ambitions of the strategy.
We have brought new services online, such as our Cyber Services function, a nationally coordinated, locally delivered service, that meets the needs of all UK police chief constables and police and crime commissioners in efficiently reducing the risk and impact of cyber security threats.
PDS Cyber Services deploys the most appropriate technology to secure critical information systems and is capable of assessing and building security solutions as an enabler, orchestrating a platform for digital change. The National Management Centre (NMC) also sits within cyber services acting as nationally-supported cyber security protection facility for police forces across England and Wales. In the last year, the NMC’s Protective Monitoring service investigated 72,000 incidents across all forces and partnering organisations, averaging 6,000 per month. These efforts help to ensure that the police service is protected from ever-present threats.
We’ve also successfully completed the delivery of key national digital policing initiatives, with most of the milestones met for the Home Office funded programmes within the PDS portfolio. We’re growing a range of new capabilities “enabling officers and staff” to work smarter with digital, data and technology. This includes the recent completion on the 31 March of the National Enabling Programmes.
I’m also delighted to say that we have delivered around £17m commercial cashable and cost avoidance savings back into policing. While financial savings for the public sector will always be welcome, I know that in the current challenging and uncertain times these are even more necessary than ever.
There is also a whole range of other exciting work already underway:
- PDS is collaborating with the College of Policing and Microsoft to integrate Microsoft Viva Learn and College Learn to create a “one stop shop” for mandatory and development training;
- Working with the National L&D Executive to create a Digital Training Strategy, so that all 43 forces have a clear and consistent approach to digital L&D;
- Developing training plans to support the delivery of the Police Cyber Assessment Framework;
- The Solutions Catalogue has now been integrated into PDS and work is underway to establish how it can be developed further. For example, integrating HSE reporting to reduce duplication and streamline processes;
- Assisting with moving the UKFPU into the NPCC; this is due for 1 September and a large amount of discovery work is underway;
- In collaboration with Transforming Forensics, the Forensic Capability Network and NPCC Forensics a proposal for Home Office funding has been submitted for a new digital forensic transformation programme over the next three years, led by PDS. This will see work on selective examination and extraction, automation, validation services and building enduring capabilities for policing;
- Mobilising a discovery, sponsored by Home Office and MoJ, on how to meet the Ministerial requirement to roll out the Avon Somerset RASSO data tool across policing, with a view to seeking a platform for wider CJ data sharing, visualisation and analysis.
We have worked with, and will continue to work with, police forces, police and crime commissioners and national partner organisations to ensure that we can offer you the best possible service and identify areas where digitisation may be able to offer solutions, fill gaps and, crucially, free up officer and staff time for face-to-face interactions, improving safeguarding and delivering tangible digital change for policing across the UK.
I am very proud of everything we have achieved over the past 12 months. We look forward to bringing more services, programmes and products online for you in the coming years to ensure real outcomes for our communities.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to grow and develop.