The Isle of Man Constabulary is set to undergo a digital transformation that will radically update its use of technology across the whole force.
Central to this transformation will be the installation of a new core operating system, replacing almost 20 current systems. This will mean a substantial reduction in administration and paperwork, boosting the amount of time officers will spend out on the beat.
To deliver this major change the Constabulary has today announced a contract for a new policing platform, "CONNECT", from Northgate Public Services working in conjunction with the Cabinet Office's Government Technology Services.
The contract has been awarded following an open procurement process which saw involvement from teams across the Constabulary and the Cabinet Office, with the Isle of Man Constabulary becoming the 13th force to sign up to the policing platform.
The investment in the platform is the first major investment in technology by the Constabulary in over a decade and is a crucial part of a broader plan to modernise all the technology used across the force. It is an integral part of the Government-wide Digital Strategy (www.gov.im/digitalstrategy), meeting the demand for increasing digital services.
The force has been working alongside Cabinet Office's Government Technology Services and that relationship has already proved to be successful in a number of areas, including the development and support of the all-new police website (www.iompolice.im) and the recent delivery of smartphones to front-line police officers, letting them spend more time in the community and less time behind a desk.
As this digital overhaul continues there will be detailed analysis of a further range of new technologies, all linked in to the Constabulary's recently agreed digital strategy, and all focused on what the Constabulary has described as 'freeing our people to deliver quality policing.'
These include innovations such as body-worn cameras, drones, mobile speed detection cameras and automatic number plate recognition.
These are all at various stages of development, and their eventual roll out will depend upon their proven ability to support the Constabulary in an environment where resources are limited.
All have been specifically designed to give the Constabulary the cutting-edge tools it needs to support its Island-wide strategic priorities: maintaining a safe society, understanding communities, increasing capacity and reducing demand.
Chief Constable Gary Roberts said:
'A safe Island requires a modern, digitally-enabled police force. Having information at our fingertips when and where we need it will enable officers to spend as much time as possible in the communities we serve. The service enjoyed by the public will improve as a result.'
'While recorded crime has fallen to its lowest level for 45 years, the challenges facing the Constabulary are growing in scale and complexity. The Island is no longer insulated from an ever-more connected global society and officers must be equipped to deal with modern demands and sophisticated criminals. Our vision is to use technology to predict, respond to and ultimately to prevent crime.'
Adding to the Chief Constable's comments Mark Lewin, Director of Government Technology Services, said:
'The Digital Strategy reflects the Government's three digital principles: thinking digitally by removing paper and inefficient processes, working together with digital and joined up systems, and learning intelligently to harness the power that digital information can provide to give better outcomes for everyone. The use of new technology across the criminal justice system is one of our biggest priorities. The core system, alongside the broader initiatives outlined in the Constabulary's Digital Priorities, all support these three core ambitions. As with the overall Digital Strategy – the Digital Priorities set an important direction forward with a number of exciting projects that will come to fruition over the next year and that will transform key elements of Manx policing.'
Ian Blackhurst, Executive Director at Northgate Public Services, said:
'Our CONNECT platform makes vital information available when and where it's needed, cutting down on data entry and time-consuming searches. The Isle of Man Constabulary needed a robust, out-of-the-box solution that could liberate their officers from unnecessary red tape and contribute to safer communities and we're delighted to be supporting their vision for digitally-enabled policing.'