Policing minister Brandon Lewis explains why the Home Office has handed £1.5m to Hampshire police for its work with the Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley forces
It has been several months since I took up my new role of policing and fire minister, and from my meetings with front-line officers, chief constables and police and crime commissioners it is clear we share the same pride in our model of policing by consent.
Day in, day out, officers here in Hampshire are doing a fantastic job in our communities, fighting crime and keeping us safe.
This was recognised nationally recently when Hampshire PC Vikki Sharpe was nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards for her actions in dealing with a drunk driver who became violent on the M3 motorway.
It is actions like PC Sharpe’s that make me proud of policing in this country.
Over the past five years PCCs and chief constables up and down the country have demonstrated that they can collaborate to make savings, pool resources to improve effectiveness, help forces be more resilient in the long term and provide better services to the public without sacrificing local accountability and identity.
During the next five years, PCCs and chief constables must go further to drive deeper collaboration, better sharing of back office services and a more intelligent approach to where police capabilities sit – not just to deliver further efficiencies, but to ensure policing is best positioned to meet the new set of challenges it faces.
Hampshire Constabulary’s collaboration with Thames Valley Police on capabilities such as roads and dogs units is testament to this.
Now, through the Police Transformation Fund, Hampshire has secured £1.5m to collaborate with Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley police forces to create and implement a joint IT system, with officers using smart phones on the beat to store and share data with one another.
While officers already use smart phones out in the field, this new digital platform will speed up their access to information and therefore help to free up officer time.
The Police Transformation Fund was set up as part of the Spending Review 2015 to allocate extra investment to policing, continue police reform and ensure that forces have new and efficient capabilities to respond to changing crimes and threats.
Earlier this year, bidding was opened up to police forces nationally for projects that will transform policing. Hampshire Constabulary was one of 10 forces to successfully secure funding in this first round, which saw £23m awarded in total to 14 projects, with £76.4m in total available in this fund for forces for the 2016/17 financial year.
It was really encouraging to see forces such as Hampshire coming forward with such groundbreaking projects in this first round of the Police Transformation Fund.
This new digital platform will be invaluable to the forces involved and I will be closely watching its progress and outcomes.
‘We’re pleased to be seen as leading the way’
THE police force receiving the cash for innovation said it will mean its work will become more efficient as a result.
Hampshire police hopes the shot-in-the-arm funding will streamline its work in the criminal justice system.
A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary is pleased to be recognised again as a force that is leading on the greater use of technology to enable officers and staff to serve the public.
‘The investment will provide greater capacity for officers and staff to access, transfer and store data and it will provide the basis for greater use of body-worn video. This technology will allow us to give a better, more efficient, more effective service to the public and will help to streamline the criminal justice system.’
The cash was awarded in August from the police transformation fund.