Nearly a third of police forces now have the ability to access world leading Microsoft technology from the National Enabling Programmes (NEP) - with numbers increasing each month.
A total of 12 constabularies have reached the required NEP technical and security standards to adopt Microsoft 365 (M365) and start working smarter. This represents around 48,000 users who can take advantage of productivity tools such as Teams.
The programme will bring more forces on stream over the coming months, transforming the way policing works.
The use of the popular Teams app was accelerated during the Covid lockdown period to help forces facilitate secure home working for a significant section of their workforce. The full roll out of M365 will see even more benefits, with huge reductions in time spent carrying out manual tasks. Police personnel will also have easier and more secure access to information they need to protect the public. This applies whether on patrol, in the office or - if necessary - working from home.
M365 will improve collaboration internally between forces, with other law enforcement partners and with those involved in safeguarding work where quick and reliable information sharing is vital.
The benefits are already being felt by the early adopters, many of whom found the technology invaluable when adapting to the challenges brought about by coronavirus.
Commissioner Ian Dyson of the City of London Police who is the Chief Officer lead for the National Enabling Programmes says: “This technology could not have been more timely”.
“It opened up many new opportunities for agile working for officers and staff helping us manage our on-site workplaces to enable them to be used safely by those whose roles require in-person attendance,”
“This technology is being used in many different ways across forces, one such example is that officers attending crime scenes are now able to consult easily with specialists without the need for those specialists to attend their location. This allows quicker case progression, officer and staff time savings as well as reduced travel costs.”
“This is just one simple example in which this technology is enabling business change and providing new, more efficient, ways of delivering an effective policing service that continues to protect the public.”
The NEP was established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council with the aim of bringing key areas of police technology in line with the best in the private sector. Forces work to national standards that deliver the high levels of security expected by the public.
The NEP has three inter-related programmes: Microsoft 365 Productivity Services, Identity Access Management, and centralised security monitoring at the recently established National Management Centre.
An online 'Enabling Centre' has assisted force Change, Communications and L&D leads in rolling out M365 to their workforce.
NEP Programme Director Wayne Parkes adds: "We are at the sharp end of the programme now, getting all police personnel online with M365 and also demonstrating to them – whatever their role – how it can help us work better.
“We had to step up a gear to deliver Team during the lockdown but there is so much more the productivity tools can do.
“It is important officers and staff don’t just view this as a tech upgrade. It really is going to change the way we protect the public.”
Stephen Mold, PFCC for Northamptonshire and APCC representative on the National Enabling Programme Board said:
“I am delighted that the first 12 forces have now got access to the latest suite of Microsoft 365 and Teams solutions, including cloud based secure storage.
“It is crucially important to be able to support officers with the best technology and data to enable them to deliver an even better service and improved outcomes for their communities.
“It is now incumbent on Forces to maximise the use of this new technology so that the full range of benefits that it can bring are realised.”
The forces in Tranche 1 of the rollout programme are: