The changing face of modern-day policing

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THE age of the ‘digital police officer’ could be upon us, according to Sussex Police.

Days after the force announced the potential loss of jobs in a bid to save £55m by 2020, it also announced ‘cutting-edge technology and equipment’ to ‘help police meet the challenges of modern day policing’.

An innovation hub, the Security Innovation and Demonstration Centre, part of a Home Office centre of applied science and technology has opened in Horsham.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry was at the opening.

He said: “The College of Policing, supported by the police digitisation programme has committed to all forces being fully digital by 2016.

“A comprehensive review has already been undertaken, setting out a vision of what that looks like. Sussex, as well as all other forces, is now fully behind making this happen.

“Technology is at the heart of seeing this vision through, allowing police officers to undertake their roles more effectively and at the same time making them more accountable to the public.”

A spokeswoman from Sussex Police said from January the force was set to undertake a number of projects, such as developing the ‘digital police officer’.

Other initiatives include enabling officers to use body-worn cameras, ‘wearable mobile data’ and ‘head-up displays’ allowing officers to access information on the move.

It would also include increasing understanding of how organised crime was taking advantage of an expanding digital world.

ACC Barry added: “Technology will allow us to provide digital evidence throughout the criminal justice system, maintaining the highest levels of quality and integrity.

“For example, Sussex Police is currently rolling out a mobile computing platform that will allow our response and neighbourhood teams to use mobile 
devices as they work to protect the community, enabling them to be more visible and spend less time in the office. Introducing mobile policing in Sussex is a major part of our plans to modernise how we work.

“It is not just existing solutions that are necessary if the police are to face the challenges of detecting and preventing crime that the 21st century brings.

“We need to produce new technical solutions to counter new types of crime and to deal with new forms of evidence.

“We also need solutions that can make our current processes more efficient or even bring about entirely new ways of working. This is a difficult challenge, but that doesn’t mean impossible.”