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Next generation mobility for more effective policing

Next-generation mobility is not just about digitizing the officer's notebook it is redefining the way officers use information in fighting crime.

Overview

There is a growing expectation from both a citizen and employee perspective that everything can “be mobile”. On average, people look at their phones once every six-and-a-half minutes. There are more than 650 million mobile social network users worldwide and more than 183 billion mobile apps are expected to be downloaded by 2014.

This point of view seeks to define what mobile technology means in a policing context, to outline the next-generation “vision” for changing the way officers work through mobile technology, and to understand how this vision can be achieved. We have drawn on insight from the Accenture global police business service, the Accenture Police Center of Excellence, and our mobility technology specialists and have been informed by discussions with senior and operational officers in a number of different police services globally, as well as secondary research.

In this video filmed at the 2013 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference, Police Leaders from around the globe share their insights on how next generation mobility is redefining the way officers use information; making them more effective in fighting crime and serving the public.

Background

The use of mobile technology in a policing context is not new. From the first officer radios to the current mobile data terminals and fingerprint devices, police services continue to explore how technology can make them safer and more effective.

The innovative use of mobile technology empowers officers, engages citizens, optimizes ways of working, and enables analytical outputs to be delivered directly to the officer. This improves the service offered and provides new ways of collaboration - all of which ensure the police service has the capability to provide a holistic “joined-up” service to the public now and into the future.

Analysis

Our key findings are as follows:

  • There is no shortage of ambition: Officers and police leaders see the value in using and embracing mobile technology for policing.

  • Officers and innovators are key to the change: Success relies on the partnership of private sector innovators and the practical reality of the officers on the ground.

  • It is time to be brave: Police services are faced with significant challenges and budgetary constraints when pursuing ambitious technology strategies, such as data security risks, budgetary constraints, technical constraints, procurement and other commercial restrictions. Police services have recognized that it is time to be brave now; to achieve the step-change in performance they need to move on from existing technology and be determined in confronting these challenges.

Recommendations

To implement this next generation of mobile technology in policing successfully, services must first define their own vision; one that is holistic and commits to a “target definition” of capabilities that their officers need. Police services must:

Assess and define a strategy. Define the target vision for mobile technology without conceding to the constraints of the current technology landscape. The vision should be about the ”functionality” needed by the officers, consider the “art of the possible” and be demanding in terms of desired outcomes, rather than focus only on what is already being achieved.

Listen to officers and use your imagination. The first step toward a “user-driven” mobile technology transformation is to understand what the officers need, what they want and what they expect from mobile technology. Mobility initiatives need to be developed for the officers, by the officers, in partnership with innovators that can deliver the technology.

Be prepared to think differently. Mobile technology is different to traditional information, communications and technology (ICT) implementation and demands a change in approach to be successful. This includes bold procurement decision; different ways of working, reassessing buying behaviors and creative approaches to working with suppliers and innovators.