In June, I presented at the UK Police Strategy Forum on ‘Gaining value from your data & leveraging new data sources’, so I thought I’d share a few of my own observations from the event.

The 2 days brought together Chief Constables, Chairs, Chief Execs, Chief Tech Officers, and Heads of Department from Police Authorities across the UK, including some of the UK’s biggest police forces.  Although the three main themes of the conference were: collaborative working, joined up services, and working with other agencies, the individual break-out sessions covered a broader range of topics such as: the role of the PCC, what are the right IT models, procurement, and cultural change.

I presented at this event and wanted to briefly share some of my observations specifically on citizen engagement, the changing role of the individual in public safety, and community policing and how it impacts policing today.

We live in a socially connected world.  Citizens and communities have the ability to rapidly connect and organise; can act quickly, on time and in the right place… and now often faster than the police.

We also see that the ability to significantly influence people and policy has shifted from a centralized model, to a distributed one – across community, police and government; at any time, from anywhere, and on any device.

At the event I spoke about CGI’s CitizenNet project, a great example of combining community engagement and policing. During the session I asked the audience the following questions (as a show of hands).

  • Are society and the
    communities in your area now partly responsible for public safety? (60% agreed)
  • How many of youanalyse social channels at a force level (20% said yes)
  • How many of you engage with communities through social channels (5% said yes)
  • How many of you have community policing and/or social media analysis as part of your strategy (3% said yes)

Although clearly not a scientific grade piece of research, it was evident that the majority of police forces represented at the event do not currently have a plan of how to tap into the value of social media, both in terms of analysing what’s being discussed and also using it as a vehicle to engage local communities around social policing – which I found surprising.

I’ll leave you with one additional thought. Big Data, as an example, the social media data you get from this kind of citizen engagement, is often talked about in terms of Volume, Velocity, Variety and sometimes Value.  In today’s social media driven world I think we can add Visibility to that too.

I came away thinking, so how much longer can police forces afford not to have a plan of how to embrace Big Data?

About this author

Danny Wootton

Danny Wootton

Danny is Innovation Director for CGI UK, responsible for innovation across all divisions and delivery organisations and across the UK markets - a role Danny describes as the best job at CGI. Parts of the role include building strategic relationships with CGI’s clients around ...

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