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NPCC lead on data calls for more specialists

Speaking at a Police IT Conference, Durham CC and NPCC Data Quality Portfolio lead, Jo Farrell, has called for investment in more specialist expertise.

Durham’s Chief Constable and NPCC lead on data has told the Police Digital Summit that “the focus on investment at the moment is on officer numbers as opposed to expertise”, as she pushed for investment to build capability in that area. 

CC Jo Farrell focussed on the importance of data and data literacy as she commended the summit for moving away from the importance of tech and starting to consider the importance of data. 

“It’s useful to consider some of this against front end operational capability,” she said. 

“We would be able to do that better and collaborate about data specialists if we likened it to firearms response. 

“We share specialist capability in those huge areas. That’s the domain we need to be in around data specialists," she said.

“We’re not all going to be able to afford those individuals within our forces. We talk about building specialist capability regionally- this is the same conversation we need to have.” 

Her comments came in the same week as a data think tank and the Police Foundation both told Police Oracle forces could cut crime and prevent offending earlier if they improved recording and sharing.

The Director of Data at the Met, Aimee Reed, underlined the importance of setting out career pathways in this area. She called for forces to have specialist roles planned in and budgeted for. 

“We need the right pay and conditions for data roles and analytics roles,” she said. 

“There is currently a market allowance for tech but not data in my force.
“[We need to put] that belief in the data community themselves that they’re important and we want them to stay.

“Finally, we need a recruitment process that’s not bureaucratic and more agile.” 

Speaking of potential moves over to the private sector, Ms Reed said that that needs to be accepted, but that hopefully those individuals will go forward as advocates of the police. 

Teresa Ashforth, PND Data Quality and Standards Lead, explained that IMORRC (Information Management and Operational Requirements Coordination Committee) along with the Police Digital Service, were bringing together a data board to provide advice and guidance around data issues. 

Further moves that CC Farrell is pushing for include an improvement in data quality, stating that in a recent survey of PND users, the data quality was identified as one of the main reasons people were turned off accessing the PND. 

She said there will soon be a launch of national minimum data standards and that she is working closely with the relevant NPCC portfolios to define standards for recording protected characteristics. 

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