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article imageBritish policing undergoing digital transformation

By Tim Sandle     Jan 18, 2018 in Technology
London - The Metropolitan Police Force, the U.K.’s leading police service serving London, has announced a range of digital transformation initiatives. Central to this is the service’s Windows XP migration.
According to the Metropolitan Police Force’s Chief Information Officer, Angus McCallum, interviewed by the website Silicon, the force is ditching its dated technologies and is embracing software applications lile Box; ditching Windows XP and is looking into the application of smart speakers like Amazon Echo. These are services that can enhance modern policing.
From tablets to body cameras
These latest announcements are part of a digital transformation journey undertaken by the Metropolitan Police in recent years. This stepwise process has seen police offers equipped with tablet computers and those officers sent on patrol equipped with and body cameras.
The use of body cameras, an aspect of technology set to be expanded, was introduced to attempt to address controversies around the ‘stop-and-search’ tactics associated with the Met. These searchers, where a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities are stopped, has exacerbated tensions between the police and some London communities. The idea is that the use of camera evidence can help to ascertain why a police officer felt they had good cause to stop a person on the street and ask them to empty their pockets.
The Axon Body Camera footage is automatically uploaded to secure servers once the device has been docked. Periods of digital footage can be flagged for use as evidence at court or other proceedings
Furthermore, the Met has put in place measures to consolidate legacy technology systems, reduce its data centre footprint and employ staff with the necessary information technology skills.
Digital transformation and Box
The police service has also entered into several partnership deals with leading technology companies to implement new services. This includes a £100 million ($140 million) contract with British Telecom to underpin the transformation program. The service, a little behind major businesses, plans to migration away from Windows XP (which will be unsupported by Microsoft) to Windows 10 by the end of 2018.
In addition, the Met has entered into a deal with Box. This had led to a rolling out a cloud platform to 50,000 users, with plans in place to expand this further. One idea of the cloud service is to allow detectives to share case notes within a secure and confidential setting. A key aim with Box is to reduce its reliance on CDs and improve the security of its file sharing practices, according to Computing World.
Future use of artificial intelligence
In terms of the future, the Met is looking into the feasibility of smart speakers like Amazon Echo being used used to collect reports from the public and to disseminate information on crime. Longer-term, the potential for artificial intelligence to allow citizens to file crime reports and witness statements from their own home is being considered, with the aim of reducing the strain on police call centers.
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