Today I have been talking about the future of policing in a digital age at the Royal United Services Institute (On Twitter @RUSI_Org ) in Whitehall. I realise I was a late substitution and whilst I could have ensured I have a better brief in terms of my input I think the presentation went well.
It was pleasing to see that this event was looking at the whole of digital policing rather than the normal ‘silo’ approach and this event has shown again that whilst different functions require different solutions the overall challenges are shared.
It’s clear that the behaviours and approaches that policing need to adopt to become ‘truly digital’ cross the different police disciplines are very similar. Security, ethics, volume (big data), analysis, legalisation, partnership, interdependency and cost were regular topics. If we are to be able to become a ‘truly digital’ enabled service we must tackle the significant challenges and barriers as a whole service rather than as separate functions. It certainly isn’t just an ICT or INFOSEC issue.
Of course the security question came up, of course we spoke about the cloud and how policing was able to use such technology but when you look around the room lots of colleagues (including myself) had two phones, one work device providing secure email and police functions and their personal smartphone fully integrated to the internet of things. Police cloud computing seems a long way off at times.
Interestingly all of us presenting on our panel about ‘digital engagement’ referred to the Peel Principles. Whilst public relations professionals are striving to do things differently to take advantage of the developments, we all focused on the basic and historic policing principles that have underpinned policing since it’s inception. That’s great because whilst the technology has changed, evolved and transformed, and the types of crimes committed have changed (certainly by the way we classify them) the basic demands of our communities remain.
Our communities want to be protected from those seeking to profit from, and from those intent on causing harm. They want to feel safe and have influence over the way they are policed. The want to be confident in the service and trust they are dealing with what matters and using powers appropriately.
The digital age provides us with significant challenges but also opportunities to achieve this – not forgetting those who don’t share the digital space who also need the same.
Favourite hashtag of the day – #DigitalPeel