Digital Merry Christmas

It’s been a year of massive change for myself. Hard to believe that one year ago today I was standing at the highest point in Hong Kong at the end of an amazing break traveling around the South China sea.

1 year later I’m working on a national policing programme, my office is in London (or the spare bedroom – depending on the day) and I’m a very proud (and young) Granddad.

Acroyms AheadStarting with work.  I took the step and applied for a secondment from Staffordshire Police (my home for 15 years) to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP).  The DPP is supporting policing with new services that enable a new digital relationship between the police and communities. The programme affects every area of policing from initial contact (DPC) with the public through investigation (DII) and transactions right to enabling a digital justice approach (DF) – I warned about the acronyms!

DPP logoSo what does that all mean – DPC – Digital Public Contact – is about providing the public with a choice to use digital channels to interact with the public service. Yes reporting crime and incidents but so much more. Getting updates or providing updates to ongoing cases, applying for licences, accessing information, or finding out what the police are doing to protect the local community and importantly influencing the priorities. It’s not about forcing channel shift, we don’t need to! People will choose digital given the chance.  We need to provide a customer (user) focused platform that works for both policing and the public.

DII – Digital Investigation and Intelligence – is about providing the skills and capabilities to policing to deal with crime and intelligence in a digital world. I have had to learn a great deal here, I can usually follow the conversation but I do have to ask lots of questions when I’m working in this area. The new reality is that almost all crime has a digital footprint and we need to ensure policing has the skills, processes and tools to bring offenders to justice and reduce crime.

DF – Digital First – but this really doesn’t explain it. Think about a justice system that is supported by a truly integrated digital service that allows the secure transfer of complex and multi format information across a range of agencies and stakeholders. It’s about digital case files, digital transfer of multimedia evidence (rather than DVDs), video enabled justice, digital transactions between police – CPS – Courts – Victim Support – Lawyers – Prisons – Probation and lots more. Data keyed once and shared with those who really need it.

My role is to bring this all together for forces and engage with them about the national programme, bring in the opportunities for both the force and the national programme to make a real transformation in policing. More about changing processes and approaches than implementing technology.

This means I’m travelling around to meet senior leaders in policing, and getting a detailed understanding of the issues facing them and supporting them as they transform in a complex environment.

Secondly – much more importantly – being a granddad. #GranddadDave as I try to cling onto any creditability of understanding digital (because digital is a young persons thing isn’t it?). But what sort of digital world is my beautiful Granddaughter Lily growing up in? What will her expectations of digital services be like? Hopefully we will have stopped putting digital in front of everything by the time she’s at high school (but I’m not convinced). Think I understand what you mean here – but perhaps it needs some clarification.

lily and meWe shared her first photo with our family using Facebook and WhatsApp. So within an hour of being on this planet she already had a public digital footprint. Of course the reality is that she had a digital footprint on systems before she was born, in terms of her and her mum’s health. We had even booked a place on a holiday for an unborn infant for when she was just over six months old.

The reality is our world is now digital. Almost every aspect of our lives has a digital element. Therefore for public services we have to be DF, sorry digital first or actually digital by default. This doesn’t mean abandoning other channels but we need to truly think about how we can deliver our services in a digital way, not how we can make our services more digital.

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