During a Supplier’s Summit in October 2014, co-hosted by the APCC and the Home Office, the key issue raised by workshop participants was the perceived lack of IT standards, and in any case published IT standards, across policing ICT.
Similar concerns have been raised through other channels such as the Body-Worn Video Workshops. Chief Constable Mike Barton, as Chair of the Operational Requirements Board, agreed to publish the existing National Standards for Policing as well as commission a stream of work to identify and address the gaps.
The key objectives of this work are to:
- Promote data exchange between police forces and other stakeholders
- Enable open policing IT solutions that are not ‘locked in’ to suppliers
Achieving these objectives will produce the following benefits:
- Improved policing capability able to dynamically respond to future policing priorities caused by a rapidly changing IT environment and IT enabled criminality
- Improved collaborative and inter-agency working, such as integrated multi-agency safeguarding hubs
- Improved innovation
- Reduced costs through provision of flexible IT architecture leading to greater choice, integrated solutions, and a reduction in duplication of effort
- The creation of standards within the marketplace that will attract more SMEs to enter
- Promotion of best practice by creating a repeatable model for collaborative standards development
Following extensive consultation with agencies including the NCA, CAST, the College of Policing, Bluelightworks, TechUK, ADS, industry partners and a number of police forces, and learning lessons from the MoD’s transition to a Network Enabled Capability, the ORB has created an Open Standards Approach.
The approach has been to collate and review existing principles and standards in policing IT, in addition to those from different government bodies and the private sector. This has then formed a baseline for future development to ensure standards are developed in an efficient and timely manner and still support the principles of localism.
Open standards are critical to support the flow and exchange of information. Making standards open will have significant advantages. Many of the standards developed will not be unique to policing and will have application across the public sector including criminal justice. Clearly where there is no need for police standards to differ from more general revised public sector standards, we would not look to divide the market by adopting a separate approach. However, the use and compliance of published standards will enable systems and services from a range of suppliers to interoperate, encouraging efficient and sustainable future development in a competitive market. The G – Cloud framework will support forces in future by providing shorter term contracts, thus enabling customers to move to those who offer value for money as both technology and standards continue to progress.