Innovation and changeCloud ComputingPolice IT budgets focused on digital transformation and cloud

Police IT budgets focused on digital transformation and cloud

There is so much potential for technology to transform policing and it’s crucial that every component of an IT infrastructure works together

More than a quarter of police IT budgets is being spent on digital transformation, according to new figures released this week.

Intercity Technology, an enterprise communications and IT specialist, issued a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to 48 police forces in England and Wales to ascertain where 2018 IT budgets were spent, and identify the collaboration tools currently used. They received 37 responses, which revealed that although there was a wide range of approaches to IT, over half of police forces were looking to implement a cloud-first strategy in the future.

Some of the highlights from the whitepaper based on the FOI request were as follows:

  • 28% of police IT budgets were invested into digital transformation last year
  • The third-party management of IT infrastructure accounted for 32% of budgets
  • 40% of IT budgets were spent on the maintenance of current IT infrastructure
  • Of the 37 respondents, 54% also revealed that they are planning to adopt a cloud-first strategy within the next five years, with several more highlighting that it was something they were looking into
  • One force also indicated that savings from remaining traditional and on-premise solutions would be reinvested into its cloud first strategy
  • Most forces are still at the beginning of their digital transformation journey, with 40% of police IT budgets being spent on maintaining current IT infrastructure
  • Levels of investment into digital transformation amongst the police forces was also inconsistent, with some spending nothing at all in this area
  • There were a variety of platforms being used across the sector, with 44% of forces using online services such as Skype for Business and Webex

Ian Jackson, Chief Commercial Officer at Intercity Technology said: “It’s encouraging to see that the majority of police forces are moving to a cloud-first strategy, which will lay the foundations for a more connected and agile future. This will allow new technologies to be adopted more quickly and ultimately enable the police to respond to crime more effectively.

“There’s still work to be done when it comes to replacing legacy systems, but with the government currently investing more than £100 million into transformative technology in this area, we should soon see the benefits of a police force that embraces cloud technology, unified communications and seamless knowledge sharing and the benefits brought about from savings and agility this brings to maximum effect.”

Technology a critical resource

Technology is often cited as the solution to meeting the rapidly changing demands of policing. Digital transformation can make a significant difference in driving efficiencies. However, this transformation often requires a high amount of resources – and it’s no secret that the UK’s vital police forces are facing more pressure than ever.

The report concluded: “In order to move away from a legacy approach to IT and successfully undertake a digital transformation journey, police forces need to be considered when choosing a solution. A perfect balance between cost, security, scalability and availability must be achieved in order to create a future-proofed approach to IT that is fit for today’s rapidly shifting policing landscape.”

Last week it was announced that cloud-based software will provide safety and efficiency to Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary. The Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) had revealed plans for integrating its cloud-based Collision Reporting and Sharing system (CRASH) into other key police systems by March 2020.

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