Leicestershire Police is to benefit from almost £3m of funding to be invested into advanced technology to help fight crime, it has been revealed.
The force will receive financial support to fund a series of improved investigation facilities following a successful bid for a slice of the Home Office’s innovation fund for 2015-16.
The funding will support new collaborative projects involving various forces in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and in one case Derbyshire.
The bulk of the funding (£1.355m) will be used to develop the East Midlands operational support service mobile working partnership agreement which has seen the force merging resources allocated to roads policing, armed policing, police dogs and police search advisor (POLSA) teams into one unit to address the threats posed regionally.
A new mobile information and communication technology (ICT) system is required to ensure officers within all four forces have access to real-time information to make critical decisions and can update systems at any time and from any location while out on operation. This would require remote access to email, video conferencing capabilities and information-sharing.
The new ICT platform will increase the time police officers can spend on the front-line by reducing the need for frequent trips back to base as well as reducing duplication. It’s anticipated the new mobile working arrangements will enable officers to spend up to 20 per cent more time in the field, significantly increasing visibility.
The Home Office has awarded a further £1.267m to help fund a new integrated ICT system enabling the regional forces to record and share intelligence on non-crime incidents that cannot be recorded as offences but could be vitally important for intelligence purposes.
The new technology will enhance the force’s public protection capabilities, and improve the way in which the region as a whole can proactively safeguard vulnerable children and adults and respond to those at risk. It is estimated detections could rise by up to two per cent (the equivalent of 1,750 cases) through supportive evidence across the forces.
The Home Office has also awarded £100,000 to forces in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire towards the cost of a new digital lab within the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.
The investment will enhance the unit’s e-forensic examination capabilities and ability to investigate offences in relation to cybercrime, on-line child sexual exploitation, serious and organised crime and terrorism. It is hoped the new technology will significantly improve evidence-gathering in sophisticated online crimes.
Leicestershire’s police and crime commissioner Sir Clive Loader said: “This funding will help us to implement ambitious projects designed to reduce our costs in the future and boost police visibility.
“I’m pleased to see that the Home Office has recognised the innovation and efficiency detailed in our bids and has decided to support them. We suffer financially as a result of top-slicing money from the overall police budget into this innovation fund so I’m delighted to see some of it coming back to Leicestershire/”
Leicestershire Police chief constable Simon Cole said: “With less money available through our central grants each year we all have to take advantage of the opportunity to bid for a share of the top spliced funding. One of the many things we have been good at doing over the past decade is collaborating in many different areas of policing, and collaboration was one of the key criteria for the Home Office in this process.”