Lincolnshire is among the police forces across the East Midlands have been awarded over £5m of new Home Office funding to invest in new technology and pioneering crime investigation techniques to improve public safety.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping submitted a bid to the Government’s Innovation Fund on behalf of the forces which make up the East Midlands Police Collaboration Programme (EMPCP).
The Fund is designed to promote collaborative working between forces, support improved digital working and enable Commissioners to invest in a range of innovative delivery approaches that have the potential to improve policing and increase efficiency.
The EMPCP comprises the forces from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire.
Funding worth £2.9m has been awarded for a four force (Notts, Leics, Lincs and Northants) interoperable crime and justice platform to improve the sharing of information and the submission of evidence between forces and the criminal justice system.
Funding has also been awarded for a range of other projects across all five forces.
This includes £1.69m for body worn videos which will help officers collect evidence of criminality while on the frontline and will also act as a deterrent tool, helping to defuse potentially violent situations before an officer has to resort to force.
A further £443,723 has been awarded in support an integrated ‘virtual courts system’ across the East Midlands, linking all police custody areas, victim suites and all courts.
This will enable HMCTS and MOJ to make substantial savings through reduced prisoner transfers and will allow the police, CPS, criminal defence and the Courts to support the delivery of two key objectives in the Government’s Criminal Justice Strategy and Action Plan.
This funding will help to modernise the Criminal Justice System, reduce bureaucracy for Police Officers and provide a better service for victims and witnesses.
A number of other forces were also successful in their bid for body worn video funding and the Home Office has stipulated that these forces must work together in the roll-out of the scheme to achieve best value for money.
In addition, the EMPCP was only one of two bids to successfully apply for funding to trial the use of RapidDNA technology which enables DNA profiles to be returned in less than 90 minutes without requiring a skilled technician to operate.
Funding of £91,400 has been granted on the condition the East Midlands team collaborates with Lancashire Constabulary, the other successful applicant, during the trial and that the results are comprehensive to achieve value for money.
Responding to the grant success, Lincolnshire Commissioner Alan Hardwick said: “I’m absolutely delighted that these bids have been accepted given the highly-competitive nature of this funding stream.
“This money will place forces within the East Midlands at the forefront of modern police investigation, allowing us to utilise the latest technology to advance our evidence-gathering work and increase our arrest rates.
“These successful bids are recognition of the huge progress the EMPCP has made in collaborative working approaches, which has increased the resilience of our local forces in major operational areas and achieved significant cost savings.
“With this further financial support confirmed, we can now expand our work in a number of new areas to make a lasting difference to not only community safety but the development of police investigation nationally.”
The Home Office received 193 bids to this year’s Innovation Fund compared to 115 bids received during last year’s Precursor Fund.
Applicants were subjected to thorough and robust assessment during the allocation process.