The UK's 45 police forces should standardise contact centre technology, a report from the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has said.
The NPIA, which is responsible for rolling out technology to support the UK's forces, said that in contrast with the private sector, police forces have not reaped the benefits of using standard technology in their contact centres. It recommended the forces consider a national standard call centre model.
"The NPIA should work with Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to revisit the potential for a national contact management technology system," said the NPIA report. "In the absence of such a system, ACPO and NPIA should ensure that a set of agreed system capability standards are developed to help assist in force procurement decisions."
Andrew Watson, CIO at British Transport Police, said it is "an absolute imperative" for police forces to use standards when implementing technology.
"Standardisation is a hugely good idea, because if you buy lots of different technology across more than 40 police forces you have to re-invent the wheel more than 40 times, which takes money away from front-line services," said Watson.
Police forces can share experiences to cut implementation costs and improve value through buying as a group, he said.
"The idea of an automated call centre would only be considered if the public expressed that it wanted this type of service," said an NPIA spokesman.
Police call centres use a wide range of technology, including CRM software to text messaging. They are often supported by IP Telephony and wireless protocols.
The NPIA spokesman said it is too early to say what standardisation will take place but said it is keen to share the technology best practice between forces
According to the report 50% of police forces have integrated computing and telephony. A total of 23% use CRM with 27% planning to use it in the future.