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Home Office dishes out more than £100m for police tech projects

The Home Office has awarded £42.7m of funding to a range of digital policing projects, as well as approved £70m for four ongoing national programmes across England and Wales

A range of digital policing projects will receive Home Office funding as part of the Police Transformation Fund.

The fund was set up as part of the 2015 Spending Review, aiming to incentivise police forces to meet the challenges of the future. 

It officially launched in 2016, and the Home Office has now announced more than £100m in funding for several projects. This includes £70m in funding for 2018/19 being approved by home secretary Sajid Javid for four national programmes.   

The programmes, which are already ongoing, aim to transform the use of technology within police forces and how the public engages with police online.

They include a national enable programme to deliver a “unified IT system” across policing, enabling joined-up working and collaboration between forces and a specialist capability programme to enable resource sharing between police forces.

The last two projects are the digital policing portfolio which aims to improve the use of technology and creating a single online hub where the public can report low-level crime and incidents, and a project to transform forensic and improve biometric services such as creating a 24/7 fingerprint identification service.

The Home Office also announced that across local police forces, 15 bids submitted to the transformation fund were successful, and will receive £42.7m spread across the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.

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The successful bids include a video-enabled justice project in Sussex, a regional organised crime threat assessment project led by Derbyshire and a digital case file project in Essex.

Policing minister Nick Hurd said the funding will help deliver “real change in policing”, and help forces improve efficiency and “tackle threats like serious and organised crime”.  

“Criminals don’t stand still, and neither should our police forces,” he said. “We’re determined to support police leaders in creating a modern, agile and responsive police service.”

Hurd has previously called on police forces to embrace the benefits brought by digital and mobile technologies, saying it’s one of the biggest challenges faced by today’s forces. 

Last year, chief inspector of constabulary Thomas Winsor also called on forces to improve their adoption and implementation of technology, highlighting a “chronic lack of interoperability between forces’ ICT systems”.

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