Kent Police and Essex Police have become the first forces Nationally to roll out the Microsoft 365 technology in line with the National Enabling Programme requirements, which means that they now have the required security protocols in place enabling them to provide the latest technology to their officers and staff. This development helps in the efforts to keep frontline staff out in communities as much as possible without the need to frequently return to police buildings to update paperwork.
Kent Police and Essex Police have worked with the National Enabling Programme team since September 2017 to implement the Nationally compliant Office 365 solution which has included a period of a technical pilot and more recently a business pilot. During the pandemic both forces have prepared for the final National Sign Off and Teams acceleration. Over the last four weeks all officers and staff have been given access to Microsoft Teams chat and collaboration tools. The ability to use Teams for online meetings has helped us to continue to protect and serve our communities during the pandemic as we have embraced new ways of working.
Teams is described as ‘your hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365, where you can chat, meet, call, and collaborate in one place, from wherever you are.’ The police implementation means officers and staff can access the latest information on either desktop, laptop or their secured compatible mobile device.
Having now achieved the necessary sign off, both forces now have access to the full Microsoft Business Productivity Suite, and the forces' key IT infrastructure are monitored by the dedicated National Management Centre to help identify and protect against cyber threats. By achieving this milestone, each force can be confident they have the technical capabilities to exploit the full Microsoft toolbox.
Both forces will now be able to roll out other tools over the coming months including the interconnected Microsoft365 products, and they will be replacing their intranet with SharePoint as adoption of the services continues.
Deputy Chief Constable of Essex Police and SRO of the O365 Programme, Pippa Mills, said: “Being part of the M365 National Enabling Programme demonstrates our commitment to the public and all of our officers, staff and volunteers, that we will be digitally skilled, equipped and enabled to use technology to help people, keep people safe and catch criminals.”
Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Faulconbridge of Kent Police said: “This is a significant milestone for both Kent Police and Essex Police with the National Enabling Programme to fully utilise M365 technology. It will enable our officers and staff to work innovatively and collaboratively with each other as well as our partners to serve the public, protect them from harm and bring offenders to justice, working on a modern and secure platform.”
The National Enabling Programmes allows forces to access intuitive connected cloud-based technology that is more flexible and has up-to-date user focused tools all in the secure and fully audited environment required to ensure the trust and security necessary for Policing.
Passing the full roll out stage gate for a force means they have following three elements in place:
- The latest suite of Microsoft 365 and Teams solutions, with cloud based secure storage that enables officers and staff to work on documents and information in line with the National Policing Digital Strategy.
- The force infrastructure, both cloud and on-premise, is monitored by the National Management Centre (NMC) which is looking for threats. This protection will increase as the proactive protective services go live in the coming months, as more and more police colleagues are given access to the tools.
- Identity& Access Management (IAM) is in place to ensure the forces can manage access to different systems and information easily, quickly revoking access to people who leave but also allowing the force to effectively share access across different forces and systems. It also means they are ready to connect to other national programmes such as National Identity Access Management (NIAM) and National Law Enforcement Database (LEDS).
Almost all forces are now actively rolling out NEP and the fantastic toolset it brings with it. Now over 65,000 officers and staff across UK policing are using Microsoft Teams, which is a great illustration of UK Policing's commitment to this transformation.
Director of the NEP, Wayne Parkes added “The programme has worked across UK Policing to develop and agree a national blueprint design for the technical environment which sets clear standards but is flexible enough to suit local needs. It’s been a challenge for the early forces to work through the high levels of assurance required to allow them to unlock the potential of the latest technology, whilst maintaining the trust of our officers and the public. Kent Police and Essex Police are the first forces to reach this important milestone, and we have many more approaching this point who are already seeing the impact which technology can have on the services they deliver to our communities.
It’s easy to focus on the technology, but really the NEP is more about enabling and empowering our officers and staff to deliver better services, by having modern and up-to-date tools and information. For too long Policing hasn’t been able to use the sorts of technology common place in our personal lives or being used by the commercial sector. We have now been able to provide an assured, secure, audited approach to exploiting cloud-based tools, but also use our collective influence and procurement to achieve more flexible, scalable services which will mean better value money for the taxpayer.”
During the initial response to the COVID-19 crisis, the NEP was able to accelerate roll-out of Microsoft Teams to over 20 forces. This enabled forces to collaborate with partners, enable whole office-based teams to work from home-often increasing productivity as a result - and support colleague well-being by allowing more connection between socially distanced locations. Other forces were already well-progressed in terms of their technical rollout, and increased usage very quickly to enable a more effective response to the crisis.
The whole NEP team have been working remotely since February as well. Work is now underway to consolidate the acceleration and work towards the previously planned strategic milestones for each force, ensuring full compliance with the agreed design blueprint as this work develops.
Several other forces are expected to hit this milestone in the coming weeks. Examples of how these services have enabled more effective ways of working across Policing are available via www.transformation.police.uk