Video: Police need to be more savvy in commissioning high-tech solutions

Chief constable Stephen Kavanagh
Chief constable Stephen Kavanagh

The police need to become more tech savvy to gain the trust and cooperation of the cyber-security sector and find innovative ways to beat the criminals.

That was the message from the chief constable of Essex Police, Stephen Kavanagh, speaking at the headquarters of techUK in London on Tuesday.

He was joined in the “Partners against crime” discussion by the interim deputy chief executive of the Police ICT Company, Robert Leach, and Andrew Rogoyski, formerly a senior policy advisor to the government's Cabinet Office and currently vice president of cyber security services at CGI UK.

He told SCMagazineUK.com in a video interview that the cyber-security industry is having to deal with 43 different chief constables and 43 police and crime commissioners. “That's meant a fragmented approach from us, that's meant that industry can't get in very easily and offer the opportunities and insights that they want to give,” he said.

Kavanagh is the chair of the Digital Policing Board and National Police Chiefs Council lead for digital investigation and intelligence. He said cyber capabilities are moving ahead quickly in counter terrorism and at the National Crime Agency but progress in the development of capabilities at a local level was moving more slowly.

SC also spoke to the second in command at the new Police ICT Company, an organisation owned by police and crime commissioners across the UK and charged with the task of coordinating the development of technology across multiple police forces.

Robert Leach, interim deputy chief executive at the Police ICT Company, told SC it was vital to coordinate development of cyber products across police forces. “The risk of not trying to coordinate requirements across 43 police forces is that 43 police forces' requirements will be developed individually. There will be a lot of repetition but there will also be some conflict,” he said.

Responding to what he heard on the day was Richard Staveley from Origone, a cyber-security solutions company, who was hoping to learn about the investment opportunities for companies looking to develop solutions for the police.

He said that the public sector has historically had a hard time articulating it's very complex requirements to industry. “Today's conference has helped me as a person placing bets, as to where we should spend our money, in the sense that what's clear is a very fragmented market that the UK police has historically had is confronting the issue of cyber and realising it needs to be more homogeneous in its approach,” he said.