My thanks to all survey respondents, and congratulations to our Prize Draw winner, DC Ed Middleton
This is the second year that CoPaCC, Policing Insight’s publishers, have run the Police ICT User Survey with the support of the Police Federation of England and Wales, the Police Superintendents’ Association, and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents. Nearly 4,000 police officers and members of staff from 48 UK forces responded this year: over three times as many as in our first year. I’m very grateful to the staff associations and every respondent for their support, and want to offer my personal congratulations to DC Ed Middleton, who has won the survey’s Prize Draw.
We will shortly publish the survey results on Policing Insight in the CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives Report, and have every confidence that these results will help police forces and their ICT suppliers improve police officers’ and staff members’ ICT experience. This frontline feedback is critical as Police ICT can be a huge enabler for policing – but poor provision damages efficiency and outcomes, as well as the well being of officers and staff already under pressure of increasing demand and limited resources.
Our Prize Draw winner and his experiences of police ICT
Detective Constable Ed Middleton, this year’s winner of the Police ICT User Perspectives 2018 Prize Draw, is a Gwent officer currently seconded to South Wales Police, on the Regional Organised Crime Unit. The Financial Crime Investigator is one of nearly four thousand police officers and staff who responded to this year’s survey.
In addition to answering ten core questions which gives valuable quantitative data, respondents also had the opportunity to comment on their ICT provision. This year, we received 18,515 separate comments on different aspects of Police ICT giving us a unique, comprehensive and candid insight into what’s working and what’s not. What comes across is the huge variety of systems that are in place.
We connect to different Citrix servers, which is random, so you never know if your computer is going to run smoothly or not.
DC Ed Middleton, Financial Crime Investigator
DC Middleton’s experiences of police ICT provision are both positive and challenging, with good applications often undermined by an unreliable server system.
His force, Gwent Police, has used a system called Citrix since 2010/11. Citrix Server describes itself as ‘a virtualisation tool that enables businesses to centrally host applications and resources which are delivered to mobile and desktop clients’. In a Citrix application delivery setup, applications and resources are hosted on central servers. South Wales Police also uses Citrix. However, the system has its drawbacks, says DC Middleton.
“We use a variety of applications on a daily basis, in particular, Microsoft Office’s Word and Excel, but also Altia Insight and web-based applications. However, the issue for us is that all these applications are delivered via Citrix, which is a server-based system, and if it crashes then we lose any work we haven’t backed up and we’re unable to work until the system resumes.
“We’ve got used to backing up work every twenty minutes or so, just in case, but the backup system is flaky, and people don’t always remember to back up.”
“It’s not uncommon for someone to have trouble logging on in the morning. We connect to different Citrix servers, which is random, so you never know if your computer is going to run smoothly or not. It means that when we come into work, one of the first questions people will ask is ‘is my computer going to work today?’”
“To get around the issue, I have a stand-alone laptop that enables me to bypass the system and access the files I need so I can work.
“It caused so many problems in Gwent that the system software applications have been installed locally on computers to make it safer to use and to avoid the entire system going down at once. It’s frustrating to work with because the system is sketchy and unreliable.”
Financial analysis software
The Financial Crime Unit also uses financial analysis software such as Altia-ABM’s Toolbar and Toolkit which works with Microsoft’s Excel to speed up the process of interrogating financial data. Both forces use these applications which DC Middleton’s says are working well for them.
“Gwent uses Altia Toolbar and Toolkit, in common with other forces, as does the ROCU (South Wales) although it’s used to a lesser extent.
If we have asked for something and have been able to justify it, as long as the cost hasn’t been prohibitive, then they generally will deliver it for us.
DC Ed Middleton, Financial Crime Investigator
“It’s a very good software package and something I pushed for when working in Gwent FIU as it allows us to process bank statements more quickly and efficiently.
“I was given detailed training by Altia ABM which I then helped to deliver to the Financial Crime Unit. If we need technical support, we can still go direct to Altia and the follow up support is good.”
Gwent Police and South Wales Police are also increasingly able to share information.
“There is interoperability between Gwent and South Wales Police. All our expenses and time worked etc is centrally held and there is a shared Record Management System (NICHE).”
“The forces have in the past been generally responsive to requests for new IT applications or access to existing ones. If we have asked for something and have been able to justify it, as long as the cost hasn’t been prohibitive, then they generally will deliver it for us.”
CoPaCC’s Police ICT User Perspectives 2018
Don’t miss our forthcoming reports with detailed results on what police officers and staff of all ranks and roles think of their ICT provision, including fascinating personal insights from the frontline selected from over 18,500 comments.
The first report to be published is the CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives Report 2018 followed by a series of focus reports:
- Digital Evidence Management Systems: User Perspectives
User insight into the challenges forces face with digital evidence and their plans for investment to meet those challenges
- Police Systems: User Perspectives
Detailed user insight into specific systems they use
- Force ICT Focus: User perspectives
Deep dives into selected police forces and the users view of their police ICT provision
CoPaCC’s Police ICT User Perspectives 2018 will be published in October. Subscribers will be able to access the report via Policing Insight when it is published.
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