Police forces across the country are to be given a boost after the government announced over £80 million in funds to help fight cybercrime, amongst other things.
The money, which will come from the Police Transformation Fund, is earmarked for technology, digital and innovation projects, such as the pilot scheme ‘Galvanise’ – which will be headed by Gloucestershire Constabulary and will aim to create a nationally networked system to tackle cyber criminals.
Meanwhile, £11m has been awarded for a video link scheme that has been designed to improve the way police officers give evidence in court. According to the Home Office, the system (if it works) will free up officers’ time for more frontline duties.
The Video Enabled Justice (VEJ) initiative will be piloted across London and the south east. Figures from Sussex Police reveal that their officers can spend over five hours off ‘the beat’ every time they make a court appearance.
And hopefully it won’t just be officers who’ll benefit from VEJ. The network of video links may also be used by vulnerable victims to give evidence remotely, or by witnesses who are unable to travel to court.
Announcing the funding, Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: ‘I’d give it all up tomorrow to live in a world without crime.’ No, he didn’t. What he actually said was: ‘We must embrace digital policing, push forward with vital reforms and transform forces so that we can take on the challenges of policing in the years to come. Crimes traditionally measured by the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales are down by more than a third since 2010, but we know that crime is changing.’
Other winners of the Home Office’s largesse include:
- £6m for Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside forces for the reform of digital policing
- £23m to provide the NCA, Regional Organised Crime Units, and police forces with new capabilities to detect, monitor and disrupt organised crime groups
- £12m for North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Northumbria and the Metropolitan police forces for their proposals in local policing. This will provide an innovative approach to engaging with the community, using sport to reduce youth offending and transforming volunteering in the police to ensure that the community has a greater say in how their areas are kept safe
- £600,000 for Avon and Somerset and Essex to drive greater collaboration between police and fire