Continue to pursue better technology
In his 2016 manifesto the Police and Crime Commissioner pledged to work with Dorset Police to improve Force technology and infrastructure. He also committed to continuing work with our alliance partner, Devon & Cornwall Police, and more widely with the South West region to explore ways to develop systems and technology to better support operational policing.
Despite the challenges of austerity and the longstanding pressure on police budgets, the PCC has continued to invest in new technology in support of Dorset Police.
During the term of office this has seen the embedding and development of the NICHE records management system, the roll out of mobile devices to frontline officers and support staff, the implementation of Body Worn Video and the launch of the first dedicated drone unit nationally.
It has also seen advancements in video-enabled justice – including facilities for police officers to give evidence to court remotely, facilities to enable virtual remand hearings and facilities to enable victims and witnesses to give evidence remotely.
The PCC, and his representatives, have worked with the Force to approve business cases for the above commitments, identify the necessary funding and ensure new initiatives are appropriately evaluated.
In terms of the alliance with Devon and Cornwall, a key strand of this work has been a programme to align the IT systems in use across both forces. This has seen the introduction of Microsoft 365 and Skype for Business, improvements to networks, Wi-Fi and mobile data capability, and the procurement of a new Command and Control system for Dorset which will align this operating system with its alliance partner.
Again, the PCC and his office have liaised closely with police colleagues to ensure plans are robust and projects keep to schedule.
Regionally, a significant area of focus is on the South West implementation of the national Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme – a particularly challenging project to introduce a new Emergency Services Network critical communications system to replace the existing Airwave service used by our emergency services.
The PCC’s work in this area has helped ensure the Force has access to new and improved technology and is better equipped to deal with modern threats and demands.