We are rightly proud of our Policing Model, providing local responsiveness and strong accountability. But in every sphere of policing a balance must be struck which respects local control whilst realising efficiency and effectiveness through appropriate national intervention. While the balance varies between policing functions, the need for smart investment in digital, data technology is strong and growing.
If we believe in a National Digital Strategy and recognise it as something that will continue to evolve, we must create the capability that will allow it to happen. If we do not change our approach our current risks and problems will be exacerbated by the evolving pressures and accelerating pace of change.
This is not, primarily, a debate about structure. Few are supportive of a national monolithic structure owning a fixed plan. But if we are open to coming together, and pooling our sovereignty in certain key areas, we will successfully achieve our digital ambitions.
As with so much in policing, navigating this compromise will require balance and judgement. The requirement is to adhere to standards, sign-up to a common plan, and in doing so accept that we will need to make choices on the ownership of decision-making across our service. The prize is the ability to deliver common solutions that transform the working practices of our workforce, and improve service outcomes for citizens. After all, the impact of getting this right will be in the hands of 123,000 officers and 65,000 staff who are committed to serving the public and protecting the vulnerable from harm.