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Forces in Focus: Frontline ICT experiences from ten UK forces

Police ICT user perspectives survey

CoPaCC publishes in-depth individual analyses of police ICT provision in the 10 police forces providing the largest response to the CoPaCC National Police ICT Survey in 2018. The 'Police ICT: Forces in Focus' reports are the latest in the CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives series based on the Survey results. These reports are critical reading for anyone with an interest in improving police ICT provision.

The ‘Police ICT: Forces in Focus’ reports are the latest in the CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives series based on the CoPaCC National Police ICT Survey 2018. ‘Police ICT: Forces in Focus’ reports take an in-depth look at the 10 UK police forces that provided the largest response to the survey. The large response from each force provided a huge amount of data to facilitate a deep dive into the experiences of their officers and staff.

The reports reveal thousands of detailed and insightful comments from officers and staff as well as benchmarking their satisfaction with their force’s ICT provision against the national picture.

The 10 police forces selected for in-depth analysis were:

  • Hampshire
  • Lancashire
  • Metropolitan Police
  • North Wales
  • North Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Sussex
  • Thames Valley
  • West Mercia
  • Wiltshire

A picture of frustration and despair but positive signs for the future

The main experience of those responding to the Survey seems to be one of frustration, discontent and, in some cases, even despair as they encountered equipment and systems which, far from helping them to do their jobs more effectively, hindered the fight against crime.

The desktop computers are consistently failing, the systems regularly go down and the promised apps on the mobile device have not materialised

Response Officer, Staffordshire Police

In the words of one response officer from Staffordshire: “The desktop computers are consistently failing, the systems regularly go down and the promised apps on the mobile device have not materialised.”

An investigator at Thames Valley summarised the frustration felt by many officers and staff: “Technology is my biggest cause of stress. Being unable to print because printers are down. Being unable to complete files because computers won’t allow you to log on. Wasting valuable working time trying to access systems. Incredibly frustrating.”

However, there are many encouraging signs particularly in the provision of mobile devices, access to a computer and the launch of new systems to improve integration.

A Sussex staff member in CID enthused: “We have been given mobile phones… [which] will provide us with the ability to take typed statements, access WebStorm and Niche. A very useful bit of kit.”

A West Mercia CID officer was also encouraged by the provision of new mobile devices: “I have a smartphone and have recently been given access to a Lenovo laptop with digital witness statements on. They seem to work well, once I got to grips with them.”

These are just a couple of examples from thousands of comments published in the ‘Police ICT: Forces in Focus’ reports.

The ‘Police ICT: Forces in Focus’ reports

The ‘Police ICT: Forces in Focus’ reports consist of an overall report, Police ICT: Forces in Focus – Comparing User Experiences, benchmarking the survey responses of the 10 UK police forces selected against the national feedback from all 48 forces forces that took part in the survey.

In addition, there are individual in-depth reports for each of the 10 forces grouped into four regional reports. These reports breakdown survey responses from Federated ranks, senior officers and staff.

Four Appendices, one for each region, contain all the verbatim comments submitted by officers and staff to the survey. These sometimes detailed and emotive comments are required reading for anyone with an interest in improving the provision of police ICT. The comments strike at the heart of the experiences of officers and staff and the ICT challenges they face daily on top of the strain of increasing demand and diminishing resources in policing. These challenges impact not just the ability of officers and staff to carry out their role effectively, but also their wellbeing in some cases.

An analysis of user perspectives not ICT provision

It is important to note that the CoPaCC National ICT Survey and the resulting CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives reports are benchmarking officers’ and staff experiences of the ICT provision in their force; the reports do not benchmark the actual ICT provision itself.

Many of the police forces with negative feedback from their officers and staff may feel that this is not a true reflection of their ICT provision and, in some cases, those forces may be national leaders in ICT.

However, if the ICT provision in a force is beyond reproach, the question arises why is the experience of officers and staff so poor? The systems may be top of the line but is there sufficient training and support? If there are fantastic new mobile devices, are they fit for purpose and are there enough of them? Does the slick new case and custody system run on slow, archaic operating systems with insufficient resources to get the most out of the new software?

These issues and many more are highlighted in the ‘Forces in Focus’ appendices where all the comments by officers and staff are published as written and unedited.

To download the CoPaCC Police ICT: Forces in Focus reports as well as other reports in the CoPaCC Police ICT: User Perspectives series please click here

The reports are available for subscribers with access an organisation-wide subscription or with a premium individual subscription.

Most police forces and key police and criminal justice organisations, as well as many academic and commercial organisations in the sector, have organisation-wide subscriptions providing free access to their officers and staff. Please register an account on Policing Insight using your organisation email address – if your organisation has a subscription, your account will be automatically upgraded to Subscriber access allowing you to download the reports.

If your organisation does not have a subscription, please contact [email protected] to enquire about gaining access to the reports.

CoPaCC is also able to provide one-to-one briefings on the survey data to organisations requiring custom analysis from the considerable valuable data generated by the survey. Please contact Bernard Rix at [email protected]


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