UK tech trade body calls on government to “further engage” with tech sector on reducing violent crime

Julian David, CEO, techUK

The UK tech trade body published a report today which calls on government to ‘further engage’ with technology companies in a bid to try and reduce violent crime.

Digitally enabled public safety was released by techUK and highlights the role that technology can play in supporting police and other public safety organisations in tackling the rising tide of violent crime.   

The report draws on seven case studies provided by techUK members working with organisations in the public safety and criminal justice ecosystems that are all enabling more efficient, more intelligent working, and ultimately supporting the delivery of critical public safety services. 

It also calls on the Government to further engage with the tech sector to create and drive opportunities that will enable a stronger, more seamless and collaborative approach to tackling violent crime in the UK. 

Julian David, CEO, techUK, said:  “Digitally Enabled Public Safety highlights the positive role that technology can play in supporting our critical public safety and criminal justice services in their efforts to address the current problem with increase in violent crime. techUK urges the Government to work with the tech sector through supplier engagement forums, pilot programmes and social initiatives to enable a stronger approach to tackling violent crime in the UK. We look forward to working with all public sector organisations to make the UK a safer place.”  

Allan Fairley,  Director, Public Safety,  Accenture, commented:  “I am proud of the members of the Justice and Emergency Services programme at techUK for bringing this report together.  It is timely, given the rising trends of violent crime and operational challenges facing policing and public safety services more widely and highlights the important role that tech can play in addressing these challenges, and enabling improved citizen safety outcomes. 

The Justice and Emergency Services programme members are keen to work with the Government on this and how we can position the UK as a leader in public safety tech more widely. 

Jessica Russell, Programme Manager, JES, techUK, commented:  “I am very proud of the members who make up the Justice & Emergency Services programme. By working with public safety and criminal justice organisations, they are at the forefront of an important transformation and are ultimately working to make the UK a place where people want to live, work, thrive and can feel safe.”  

This report is released as part of the Justice & Emergency Services programme at techUK. The programme exists to champion the role that technology can play in delivering public safety and criminal justice services.” 

Among the companies featured in the report include the geolocation specialists What3Words, which has created a global address system  which is based on the allocation of unique identifiers to the 57 trillion 3m-by-3m squares that make up the earth’s surface.

It uses 40,000 words to generate the 57 trillion three-word variations required. Offensive and similar sounding words (such as to, too and two) have been eliminated. Open the app and it will show your precise location in the form of three words, which you can share with friends or anyone who needs your location, including emergency services.

In one particular scenario, Humberside Police used what3words to identify the location of a woman who was being held hostage. The victim called 999 but had no idea where she was, however, the Police talked her through downloading the what3words app and finding her 3 words. It meant they could identify exactly which building she was in.

Also featured were data security firm Egress, which has worked with the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales to improve the evidence sharing process between justice agency partners – in particular using its Secure Workspace platform to solve the issue of hand-delivered evidence gathered on CD or DVD.

Mark Gray, Director of Digital Transformation at the CPS, said: “At the height of using CDs / DVDs to transfer evidence, the CPS was handling over 500,000 discs. Not only was this highly inefficient, it also put personal data at a higher risk of loss – as it was difficult to track all the information we held and physical transfers always entail a level of risk.”