On Thursday 24th August 2017, the policy think tank Reform published their report on their view of the digital future of policing. It runs to 46 pages (not including bibliography) and makes 10 recommendations which it claims are “the only way to police in an ever changing world.”
When it was published it attracted a LOT of comment. In this blog – Emma Williams (Deputy Director of Canterbury Christ Church University Police Research Centre) and I take a detailed look at the report and…… raise a few issues.
Sat outside a Canterbury cafe in the sunshine allows me the opportunity to reflect on the speakers and conversations from the last few days at Canterbury Christchurch Uni’s conference on Evidence Based Policing.
I would like to thank Emma, Jenny, Steve and team at CCCU for organising another amazing event.
I greatly enjoyed the event and the opportunity to speak. I’m not a huge fan of conferences as I often think it’s the same people talking to the same people about the same things. There is a danger of it all becoming very echo-chamber so I was pleased to be invited and have the chance to lob a grenade into proceedings.
The last few months have seen some truly awful events in the United Kingdom. The first incident was the Westminster attack. This was followed by the appalling scenes in Manchester and before anyone had chance to reflect too much on that, London was attacked again at London Bridge and Borough Market.
This morning we have seen terrifying images from the Grenfell Tower fire. Truly the stuff of nightmares.
The country is no doubt feeling traumatised and there are many many questions to be asked and answered. The feeling of turmoil will not be helped by the state of UK politics but it is not my place to comment on any of that.
What I am going to comment on are the two things which have been evident in all of these dreadful tragedies.
Bravery and kindness.
This morning, I had the unenviable task of explaining the current security situation to my 11 year old daughter. In doing so, I have one advantage – my job.
I work in the world of firearms command. I have been familiar with Operation Temperer for a long time. I understand what the deployment of armed officers means and how they are used.
Some of the reporting, particularly from Sky News, has been hysterical. By which I don’t mean “funny” – I mean panic inducing. If you took everything you’ve seen on TV as fact then you’d never leave the house again and I don’t want my children to live like that.
So here – without hysteria – is roughly how I explained the situation to my daughter. It may help those of you struggling and with less knowledge than those of us who work in this world.
Last night, terror encroached on childhood.
Last night, evil robbed innocence.
Last night, cowardice struck the defenceless.
Those watching the early report of events in Manchester would no doubt have hoped that this was a small scale technical problem or an inconsequential structural failure at the Arena but as time went by, the images of ambulances racing to the scene, the sight of armed officers and then the arrival of the Bomb Squad began to confirm the worst fears.