Alan Stockdale -

Collaboration is key to digital success in public safety

Multi-agency engagement has a significant potential to boost the digital delivery of citizen safety services, says report

Collaboration between agencies is a key ingredient to digital transformation success when it comes to public safety, according to a TechUK report.

The Collaboration for public safety outcomes report looks into trends that could influence the delivery of services to citizens and provides recommendations on how these could materialise if government bodies work together.

According to the commissioner of City of London Police, Ian Dyson, policing has an appetite to collaborate “more than ever” and look beyond its own boundaries to include other partners, such as local authorities and the private sector.

“Technology is a tool that can enable such collaboration, through interoperability and convergence. However, new technology can be a retrograde step if considered in isolation and as a standalone solution,” Dyson noted in the report foreword.

For digital transformation to be meaningful in public safety organisations, recommendations set out in the report include many items related to data. Data-driven technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, was one of the key trends highlighted in the report around tools that will become increasingly relevant in policing.

To take advantage of such advances, the report advises public safety agencies to undertake an audit of existing collaboration platforms to understand current capabilities and gaps, and as part of such an exercise get a full picture of the data they hold, as well as the format and quality of that information.

Organisations should identify data partners with whom to first build strategic data-sharing agreements, the report noted, potentially starting at a local level then broadening it out to include partnerships at a regional and national level.

The Information Commissioner’s Office should also support organisations in addressing their data-sharing challenges in collaboration efforts for public safety, the report added.

In addition, the TechUK report advised public safety agencies to ensure they have access to the skills needed to support their digital efforts, and also sign up for the Local Digital Declaration.

“There is an onus on all involved in the implementation of new technology to ensure that it is fit for purpose, cost-effective and enables greater collaboration between policing and their partners,” said Dyson.

“Working together, technology can be an effective enabler of better public services,” he added.

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