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Maintaining the UK’s leadership in policing through cloud innovation

Guest Blog: John Pittaway, Sales Manager, UK Public Sector at Amazon Web Services gives techUK his thoughts on the importance of police organisations needing to embrace technology innovation, particularly cloud technology, to combat the change in crime landscape.

Policing in the UK has long been regarded as a benchmark for the rest of the world. However, to remain a beacon of excellence, police organisations need to embrace technology innovation to combat ever-evolving criminality and cybercrime, and exploit increasingly complex digital evidence.

The National Policing Digital Strategy 2020 report underscores just how critical the situation is: “Policing is at a critical juncture. We either improve how we harness digital opportunities from existing and emerging technologies, or risk becoming overwhelmed by the demand they create and lose the chance to enhance and modernise our policing services.”

Forces combat crime with the cloud

Although technology adoption within UK police forces is accelerating, so too are external threats. However, cloud technologies can enable law enforcement agencies to make more informed, data-driven decisions to confront and neutralise these threats. Here are some examples of these technologies in action:

  • Protecting the vulnerable – According to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, over one million children go missing every year in nine countries alone. In response, law enforcement agencies are using the power of the cloud to harness intelligence, locate incidents, and execute a rapid response to bring families back together. In addition, the cloud is being used by forces to fight human trafficking, spot threats to at-risk children, and enlist the support of the general public in confronting the issue.
  • Fighting cybercrime – Ransomware costs governments and businesses billions of pounds every year. However, law enforcement agencies are using the cloud to streamline their responses and accelerate recovery. Europol’s anti-ransomware software, for example, has provided a cybersecurity solution to 12 million site visitors to date; while Chainalysis' cryptocurrency investigation software helps police learn more about the real entities behind transactions so they can more effectively combat organised crime.
  • Powering investigations at scale – Cloud technology is also helping forces scale up investigations, interrogate data more quickly and accurately, and collaborate with other organizations on cases. For example, mobile or tablet-based cloud applications can help establish whether a crime has been committed and trigger a response within minutes. Additionally, the cloud can be harnessed to support the rapid acquisition of digital evidence during investigations. Meanwhile, machine learning can be applied to deliver actionable insights and intelligence based on data; while object, text and character recognition can reduce investigation times by helping officers automatically identify key entries and de-duplicate information. Furthermore, data lakes can be created to integrate disparate datasets, revealing new or previously hidden insights that can be used to combat crime. 

Government supports forces by fuelling innovation

For their part, UK government agencies are making every effort to support police organizations in their fight against crime.

The UK Ministry of Justice, for example, is using the cloud to enhance service effectiveness and fairness, from seamless evidence sharing to video-enabled court testimonies. David Rogers, Head of Architecture and Security for the ministry says: “Digital technology allows us to automate our infrastructure, adapt to user needs, and listen to data. In turn, this helps us deliver a better service to citizens.”

Additionally, the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE), part of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism within the Home Office, helps security and law enforcement services increase the impact and pace of their work. ACE has created a pioneering cloud environment called PodDev that provides a secure space for industry, academia and government to collaborate using sensitive data. PodDev can deliver results in weeks and months rather than the months or years required with previous, non-digital programmes.

A digital foundation for the future

The National Digital Policing Strategy 2020 report says: “Our leaders of tomorrow will need to endorse and demonstrate a genuine understanding of how to place digital at the centre of modern policing.”

The fact is, digital transformation is as much about a cultural shift as it is a change in IT policy. Many senior leaders believe widespread technological progress is only possible when the whole workforce accepts the need for change.

Culture, skills base and confidence are essential factors in creating an environment in which UK police professionals can connect strategic goals and outcomes to the technology that helps them succeed in their mission.

To learn more about how policing organisations are leveraging technology and innovation, get your free copy of the new Amazon Web Services eBook: Digital Transformation for UK Policing.


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