Reform Research Trust, a think tank for public services in Britain, has published a report suggesting law reforms to allow police officers to be dismissed if they are not computer literate.
Digital Dinosaurs Have Had Their Day
Their suggestion is that new technologies will enable the police force to perform better, and that senior managers within the force are currently unable to ensure that their workforce have the requisite IT skills to utilise these new technologies.
The report has received some criticism from certain areas of the press, who appear to suggest that the main thrust of most of the thinktank’s reports centre around cutting manpower in public services at the expense of their efficiency and with disregard to those who lose their jobs. Such criticisms also centre on the thinktank’s link to private firms which have won public sector contracts, such as Serco and G4S.
On the other hand, however, the report goes on to recommend an injection of funds of up to £450 million each year to invest in new technologies. The technologies would include items such as an advanced Body Worn Camera, and similar technologies to install in police vehicles. Such technologies are aleady available on the market from firms such as https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/.
The Financial Times has reported that a further focus of the report is the need to improve the police’s response to cyber crime, and that the report’s authors have suggested that in order to do so, the UK police force must learn from how other countries in Europe and the USA have developed new techniques.
Diverse Skillset Valued
Opinion is divided as to whether the report’s insistence that police employees who lack IT skills are vital to the force’s continued improvements in the digital age, or an unnecessary waste of police talent that is still valid. Some IT professionals suggest that the diverse range of skills required by the police force means that there should be no need to reduce their workforce on this basis.
Union representatives for the police have seconded the media criticisms that Reform received for their publication. Referring to Reform’s support of the government’s long term austerity economics, they suggest that their proposals for increased reductions to the police force are economically motivated rather than for the purpose of increased digital security.