Mike Parfitt

What the police can learn from Formula One.

By Mike Parfitt, Head of Marketing ,Central Government and Police, BT.

I’m a huge fan of Formula One. I love the speed, the drama, the skill. But most of all, it’s the technology that keeps me hooked. Technology is constantly changing, and Formula One adapts alongside it — it’s no longer just a race to the finish line; it’s a race towards the best tech. And that makes it an exciting time to watch.

And it was while watching Formula One on the television the other day that an unlikely parallel occurred to me:

While the high-octane sport might seem a world away from policing, there are plenty of lessons in technology that forces can transfer from the chequered flag to the thin blue line.

Racing towards technological solutions.

Using the latest technology provides Formula One teams with significantly faster connections between the race circuit and the headquarters. This gives them higher-speed remote access to multiple information sources such as real-time video, telemetry etc., allowing them to assess situations more quickly and improve performance with faster and better decision-making. While this might not make a car physically faster, it can certainly help cars to win races.

And it’s here that police forces can learn from Formula One.

Modern challenges.

Both organisations deal with a lot of disparate information from multiple sources. And to make the best possible decisions, both need to access and share that information from anywhere and in real-time.

This is important as police forces today are generating significantly more information and have a need to share it with other forces and organisations. This information could be data such as local intelligence, CCTV footage, and, increasingly, imagery from body worn video (BWV).

With more forces coming together as regions, there’s an additional imperative to share information across boundaries. And as we saw at the Police Foundation conference in early November — to address the issues of policing the vulnerable and those with mental health issues, it’s critical to make sure that multiple agencies can work together.

Finding answers in technology.

For the police, IT is no longer the issue, it’s the enabler. Secure connections via private social networks; the ability to share information and apps securely with the cloud; being able to capture more information and communicate it more effectively — all of this is now possible.

Forces will have to make do with fewer people and fewer resources. They will have to work more closely with other forces and organisations if they are to maintain the Peelian principles of preventing crime and disorder and maintaining relationships with the public.

In the digital age, technology needs to be at the heart of policing in the UK — just like it is for Formula One.

And that’s exactly what BT and Cisco will be talking about on the 24 and 25 November at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) summit. There we’ll be demonstrating the latest mobile, CCTV sharing, call handling and information capture technologies. We’ll also have experts on hand to discuss issues around networks, security, data sharing and more.

You can also read about our technology partnership with Williams Martini Racing.

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