Gwent Shares in £50 Million Innovation Awards
Gwent Police is among the Forces throughout England and Wales celebrating their successful collaborative bids to the Home Office for a slice of £50 million awarded through the Police Innovation Fund. The Police Innovation Fund aims to incentivise collaboration, support, improve digital working and enable Police and Crime Commissioners to invest in a range of other innovative delivery approaches that have the potential to improve policing and deliver further efficiency.
The five successful schemes which Gwent Police will benefit from include funding for a mobile data project to enable frontline officers to transmit and access information in remote and challenging terrains; and money for a Wales-wide project to provide diversionary activities to help in the rehabilitation of women who have been arrested.
Gwent has diverse communities spread across challenging geographic terrain with limited road links. That's why, in collaboration with South Wales Police, Gwent Police will spend £837,267 on creating the UK's first collaborative Police mobile data platform and 'app' which will enable frontline officers to transmit and access information in remote and challenging terrains. Using tablets and mobile phone devices, the new mobile data platform will enable officers at crime scenes to immediately capture audio and visual accounts from victims and witnesses and upload these files and information obtained directly into a shared computer system without the need to return to stations.
The enhanced mobile data project will enable officers to access intelligence at the point of need when attending incidents enabling them to be better prepared and informed before they arrive at the call - reducing the risk to officers and providing a better service to repeat and vulnerable victims. This project will enhance the quality of information and evidence obtained at crime scenes, allow Forces to share cross-border data quickly and enable officers and key partners in the community to have rapid access to key information which will save both time and money. The new mobile platform will also enable the public access to information to monitor the progression of crime and antisocial behaviour cases.
In a separate bid led by Gwent PCC Ian Johnston, the pan-Wales Women's Triage Scheme has been awarded £234,517 to help divert women who have been arrested away from criminality and provide them with a new 'restorative' approach to their rehabilitation. The Wales-wide pilot will run until 2016 and the proposal is fully supported by all four Welsh Police Forces and Police and Crime Commissioners and also the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) which covers the whole of Wales.
And in a project aimed at digitalising firearms licensing, Gwent Police is among 22 Police Forces in England and Wales who will benefit from the £657,000 awarded for the Firearms Licensing Digital Transformation project.
An award of £498,000 also goes to the MinervaProject which is a group of 16 police forces, including Gwent, working collaboratively to maximise the effective use and development of their core policing computer system. Minerva is transforming the way forces work together and share information; connecting them using their existing technology. The money from the Home Office will be used to obtain additional expertise and to support the delivery of operational and financial benefits and increase collaboration between Forces.
The Home Office also announced an investment of £39,200 to establish the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), an online network which aims to act as a collaborative think tank, researching and implementing ways to reduce rural crime. Gwent PCC Ian Johnston is one of 28 Commissioners throughout England and Wales who has signed up to participate in and back up the scheme. Mr Johnston and the other Commissioners' have also pledged to commit £1,000 per year each for the first two years as part of their localised funding commitments to the project.
Delighted with news of the funding, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "This funding is truly fantastic news and I would like to congratulate everyone who brought their new and innovative ideas to the table and who worked so hard on making these range of exciting bids a reality.
The collaborative approach involved with these projects will help deliver benefits for all the forces and partners involved and will help create new and effective ways of working. This in turn will help enhance the Force's efficiency as we move forward and will maximise value for money for the taxpayer. This complements the priorities outlined in my Police and Crime Plan, specifically with regards to delivering value for money and providing the best quality of service available for the people of Gwent."
Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable, Lorraine Bottomley, said: "I welcome the news of this funding for exciting collaborative and innovative projects in Gwent. The Force, and the community it serves, really will reap the benefits of this money being invested in some fundamental and significant local projects, the effects of which will have a positive and far reaching impact on policing in Gwent. I look forward to working with our partners to ensure we take full advantage of this investment."