Jump to content
Account Notice
  • To post a recruitment query in the "Recruitment Areas" or in the "Force Specific Areas" you will require a Recruitment Pass or a Membership Package. Click HERE to read more.
  • Your Account Is Currently Limited
Sign in to follow this  
Fedster

'Farcical state' of police IT is a 'disgrace'

Recommended Posts

Fedster

Outdated kit, patchy service and incompatible computer systems are needlessly hindering criminal investigations.

'Farcical state' of police IT is a 'disgrace'

 

Date - 31st January 2019
By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle
1 Comment1 Comment}

 

Just 50 per cent of the UK’s police officers believe they can rely on the information held on their forces’ computer systems.

Meanwhile less than two thirds (65 per cent) can access a computer at work when they need to, the National Police ICT User Survey has revealed.

The Police Federation says it paints a damning picture of the growing frustration felt by frontline officers, with outdated kit, patchy service and incompatible computer systems needlessly hindering criminal investigations and affecting their ability to do the job.

The survey also found:

  • nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of officers were unhappy with the quality and timing of training they needed to use the equipment
  • 55 per cent were not happy with their force’s overall ICT
  • only 30 per cent felt their force invested wisely in technology
  • just two per cent were completely satisfied with their ICT services.

Simon Kempton, the Federation’s IT lead, spoke recently about “the near-farcical state of the police service’s relationship with technology”, and said the overall picture was not a pretty one, with officers trying to fight crime using out-of-date equipment and systems which were often incompatible across neighbouring forces.

“Procurement is also a massive issue, with millions being wasted on the wrong equipment,” said Mr Kempton.

“As one superintendent in the survey puts it, they take years developing systems which too often fail to deliver, when off-the-shelf products would do in 80-90 per cent of cases.”

Poor training provision was highlighted, as was pointless duplication, with officers forced to input the same data multiple times on separate systems.

“In 2018 – when we are surrounded by virtual reality products, people are using driverless cars and robots are carrying out life-saving operations – this lack of joined-up functionality in policing is a disgrace,” continued Mr Kempton, who was also concerned about the disparity between the way frontline officers and senior management were treated.

“Policing is not 9 to 5, it’s 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, and requires 24-hour solutions. Not only do senior officers seem to have access to better equipment, but in many cases they get their problems ironed out a lot quicker too. That’s no good for busy response teams at 2am who are told their IT help desk went home at 5pm.”

Nearly 4,000 officers of all ranks and police staff took part in the PFEW-sponsored survey, commissioned by police governance organisation CoPaCC, which said that while there had been a slight improvement on last year – for example, in providing more mobile devices – on the whole it was still the same picture and more needed to be done.

Meanwhile the Emergency Services Network (ESN) programme may not come online until 2022 at the earliest.

The Fed has previously criticised the ESN radio programme but while the Public Accounts Committee was recently informed that the system was delayed, the permanent secretary in charge, Sir Philip Rutnam, denied the programme had “run into the wall”.

Mr Kempton accused the Home Office of “putting its head in the sand” over the ESN disaster, which is due to replace the old Airwave system and has an overspend of more than £1billion.

“It is good that the Government is now being challenged by MPs who have heard the horror stories, but the committee is just highlighting what we have been saying for years,” he said.

View On Police Oracle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Techie1

If there was more money, they'd be more IT staff. 

Having more IT staff could mean replacing and modernising systems faster. 

Plus it could make it easier to offer 24/7. 

More national systems and identical systems could be good, but it will take time to get there. 

Although when the national system goes down, as has been seen in the news recently (Athena) - all forces using that have to go to paper. 

If every force used Athena, then every force's system would have been down the other week. Is that a good idea?

Perhaps interoperability needs to be improved, so all systems can talk to each other but they don't have to be the same. 

Upgrading or replacing all the force systems so they can work together will also take time and need lots of staff. 

Maybe it's time for Police England, although even that's a massive project from a business and technical point of view. 

I guess in the meantime, with no extra money, it is lots of slow and small changes to gradually improve systems and automate things where possible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Mac7

£1bn overspent!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

mike88

My last shift it took me 40 minutes to be able to log onto the force desktop. After restarting, updating and a call to IT I was finally able to check my emails.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


obsidian_eclipse

The computer systems in the early 90s in the states were better than what we have. I've been in a police car waiting 25 minutes for the laptop to log in. In that time you could have gone back to the station (but then you get ushered out as they don't like you in the station any more).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Zulu 22

What on earth did we do before IT came along.😎

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Indiana Jones
What on earth did we do before IT came along.
Lost bits of paper and failed to share important information?
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Zulu 22
Just now, Indiana Jones said:
24 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:
What on earth did we do before IT came along.emoji41.png

Lost bits of paper and failed to share important information?

You missed the point of the emoji then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


bensonby

My MPS laptop is brilliant. The best bit of kit I’ve ever been issued.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Jimbo26

One problem is that IT becomes outdated very quickly, forces spend a shed load one year and think it's job done. My force spent a load about 4 years ago, and we had a very good IT system, fast forward to now and with no further investment we are in the stone age.

To get an image off a USB stick we have to use a quarantine machine that isn't networked, burn the image onto a CD, we then have to find a colleague with an old laptop that still has a CD/DVD drive to copy it to their computer to then email it to the OIC!

Edited by Jimbo26
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Techie1




To get an image off a USB stick we have to use a quarantine machine that isn't networked, burn the image onto a CD, we then have to find a colleague with an old laptop that still has a CD/DVD drive to copy it to their computer to then email it to the OIC!


The alternative is allow anyone to plug any USB into any computer and end up with viruses that encrypt all the police data - aka what happened to a fair chunk of the NHS and other organizations recently.

Or allow a hacker to get into all that police data.

It's a pain, but it's there for a reason.

Maybe the process could be better, but it does need to be segregated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

bensonby

Or you could use an encrypted USB stick. If you are in the MPS you can order them off of PSOP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Jimbo26
1 hour ago, bensonby said:

Or you could use an encrypted USB stick. If you are in the MPS you can order them off of PSOP.

That is what they are now planning on doing, but can't decide how to go about it, so will create a working party, you really couldn't make it up. Over a year after the issue was highlighted still no solution. By the time they have made a decison USB sticks will be old technology.

I think this is why we are in a mess with IT. Police bosses are notoriously slow at making decisions, and because IT changes so fast by the time they have made a decison it is out of date.  have even known them to almost make a decision, and then hold off because there has been a change in technology so the process starts again.

Edited by Jimbo26

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

obsidian_eclipse
That is what they are now planning on doing, but can't decide how to go about it, so will create a working party, you really couldn't make it up. Over a year after the issue was highlighted still no solution. By the time they have made a decison USB sticks will be old technology.
I think this is why we are in a mess with IT. Police bosses are notoriously slow at making decisions, and because IT changes so fast by the time they have made a decison it is out of date.  have even known them to almost make a decision, and then hold off because there has been a change in technology so the process starts again.
So long as there's a chain of custody and due to the volume of data we acquire now through digital means it would be more efficient in my opinion to have a single person or department (not necessarily a police officer) who can deal with such things in bulk. If I've collected footage on USB from 2 or 3 different jobs one day then that can amount to an hour of my time dealing with it. That isn't time spent viewing evidence or writing a report, it is time undertaking a process which takes me away from duty. Quite often due to the lack of facilities or where those facilities are based it can take a further 1-2 hours to access (The quarantine computers are based in a "central" location some 15 miles from us involving a fight through rush hour traffic and likely to have others using it at the time). You then have other issues to contend with which seem minor, however it is akin to being the only person who changes the paper in the photocopier. A simple job can escalate into a drawn out inefficient bureaucratic exercise as there are a myriad of different codecs and formats too.

Sure. There are urgent cases which warrant a jaunt out but others do not and can result in a bulk of evidence bags with USB sticks and memory cards waiting for them to sufficiently mount up.

Having someone else do it isn't just being lazy in my opinion. It means we can get on with the job and allow bulk work to be efficiently handled.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements


Cathedral Bobby
On 31/01/2019 at 18:46, Techie1 said:

Maybe it's time for Police England,

I think this is long overdue, regionalization at the very least with standardisation of systems and equipment, which should be the best which can be provided. Savings can be made but you actually have to invest to save. One of the best things Tony Blair did was standardise NHS IT systems, which ensured GPs could link directly with hospitals. Now your blood and xray results you get back in days and not weeks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Member Achievements

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

About us

Police Community was originally founded in 2014 by two serving Police Officers.

In 2016 it was incorporated as a limited company called RAW Digital Media Limited and then purchased 3 other forums; Police Specials, UK Police Online and Police UK to form the largest policing discussion forum network in the UK.

Get in touch

  • 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU
  • contact@rawdigitalmedia.co.uk
  • 0844 357 0111
  • Forums In Our Group - Police.Community - UKPoliceOnline.CO.UK - PoliceSpecials.COM - PoliceUK.COM

Twitter

Facebook

    Meet The Team

  • Chief Bakes
    Chief Bakes Management
  • Chief Rat
    Chief Rat Management
  • Chief Cheetah
    Chief Cheetah Management
  • Rocket
    Rocket Global Moderators
  • David
    David Global Moderators
  • Fedster
    Fedster Global Moderators
  • Devil
    Devil Global Moderators
  • MindTheGap
    MindTheGap Global Moderators
  • blakey
    blakey Global Moderators
  • Techie1
    Techie1 Global Moderators
  • Sir Penguin
    Sir Penguin Global Moderators
  • PCW
    PCW Global Moderators
  • Hoofing
    Hoofing Global Moderators
  • XA84
    XA84 Global Moderators
  • Remmy
    Remmy Global Moderators
  • job_done
    job_done Global Moderators
  • Sapor62
    Sapor62 Global Moderators
×
×
  • Create New...