Police Forces across the East Midlands have been awarded over £5m of Home Office funding to invest in new technology and pioneering crime investigation techniques to improve public safety, it has been confirmed.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping submitted a bid to the Government’s Innovation Fund on behalf of the forces which make up the East Midlands Police Collaboration Programme (EMPCP). The Fund is designed to promote collaborative working between forces, support improved digital working and enable Commissioners to invest in a range of innovative delivery approaches that have the potential to improve policing and increase efficiency.
The EMPCP comprises the forces from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.
Funding worth £2.9m has been awarded for a four force (Notts, Leics, Lincs and Northants) interoperable crime and justice platform to improve the sharing of information and the submission of evidence between forces and the criminal justice system.
Funding has also been awarded for a range of other projects across all five forces. This includes nearly £1.7m for body worn videos which will help officers collect evidence of criminality while on the frontline and will also act as a deterrent tool, helping to defuse potentially violent situations before an officer has to resort to force. A further £0.4m has been awarded in support an integrated ‘virtual courts system’ across the East Midlands, linking all police custody areas, victim suites and all courts. This will enable HMCTS and MOJ to make substantial savings through reduced prisoner transfers and will allow the police, CPS, criminal defence and the Courts to support the delivery of two key objectives in the Government's Criminal Justice Strategy and Action Plan.
This funding will help to modernise the Criminal Justice System, reduce bureaucracy for Police Officers and provide a better service for victims and witnesses.
A number of other forces were also successful in their bid for body worn video funding and the Home Office has stipulated that these forces must work together in the roll-out of the scheme to achieve best value for money.
In addition, the EMPCP was only one of two bids to successfully apply for funding to trial the use of RapidDNA technology which enables DNA profiles to be returned in less than 90 minutes without requiring a skilled technician to operate. Funding of £0.09m has been granted on the condition the East Midlands team collaborates with Lancashire Constabulary, the other successful applicant, during the trial and that the results are comprehensive to achieve value for money.
Responding to the news Commissioner Tipping said: “This money will help to place forces within the East Midlands at the forefront of modern working practice, allowing us to work together to reduce any non-frontline policing costs in order to protect frontline roles.
“We will utilise the latest technology to advance our evidence-gathering work to bring more criminals to justice, which is good news for the public and the police. However, while we are pleased to have been successful in these bids, it should be recognised that the Innovation Fund is taken out of the existing overall budget for policing, it’s not a new or additional stream of revenue.
“All five forces have to identify significant additional savings over the next few years and EMPCP has made huge progress in collaborative working approaches, which has increased the resilience of all the forces in the region in major operational areas and achieved significant cost savings. This funding will help us to build on that success.”
The Home Office received 193 bids to this year’s Innovation Fund compared to 115 bids received during last year’s Precursor Fund. Applicants were subjected to thorough and robust assessment during the allocation process. Funding worth £1.2m from this Precursor Fund was awarded to four East Midlands (Notts, Northants, Lincs, and Leics) for joint IT shared services.
In Nottinghamshire, the Home Office has also agreed to fund research into the impact that mental health has on the police and wider Criminal Justice Service. The latter specifically concentrates on the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) approach for repeat offenders, training on mental health for frontline officers, mental health screening for those under an IOM approach, and providing pathways of support for armed forces veterans in custody suites. This is worth a further £164k.
The Home Office has also confirmed funding worth £0.4m for two projects in Nottinghamshire agreed under the pre-cursor funding announced last year. This is made up of £109K to support early interventions to children and families affected by child abuse, while a further £331K is supporting future integration of services.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 5th August 2014