Police in Manchester have apologised to the victim of a convicted paedophile who made an emotional appeal to trace him when he was already in custody in North Yorkshire. (BBC News)

As it isn’t known (as yet) if the cause of the error was human or mechanical or indeed, at which end of the two empty bean tins and piece of string the error occured. However, irrespective of the circumstances (and subsequent enquiry), it is a good illustration of the police requirements for effective communications. Ones which are developed and implemented in an expedient manner…

The police may have the ‘Police National Computer’ system (which records all wanted/detained persons) however, in terms of cutting edge technology it is probably past it’s sell by date, despite numerous updates. It could also be seen as , more fuel to the argument about the compatible and seamless technologies. In many ways, it also turns up the heat in the force amalgamation and regionalisation fire pit… If only to cut down on the number of policing variables!

Unfortunately, the National Policing Improvement Agency (and PITO before), have historically been slow to implement IT and Radio systems, an example of this is Airwave radio. The network based upon a digital trunk system, commonly refered to as TETRA, was originally developed in the 1980’s however, the final roll out within the police was only completed in 2009 and, is still not without problems.

Many of these implementation problems (prior to NPIA) often arose out of in force budgetary considerations and to some extent, senior officer autocracy. By this I mean, there always appears to be an element who believe they can actually reinvent the wheel. Maybe even rehash something, call it new and then line up at the Chief’s office for their gold star and pat on the back promotion.

Since the formation of the NPIA there is some standardisation now across the country however, the gears of implementation probably grind even slower than before. Not really difficult to understand when you consider, groups of ACPO ranks (or their reps) are not renowned for agreeing something for the common good… Not unless they can see their force (themself) at the top of the benefit tree! 

Question: How many of today’s policing methods are actually ‘fit for purpose’ in the 21st century?

Oh yes… My final thought on the matter; what’s the odds on the force at fault admitting the error was due to poorly implemented systems or procedures? Virtually nil is my suggestion. Far more likely to find and castigate some lowly minion at the bottom of the dung heap. The fact the hapless soul was probably working in sweatshop conditions, to flavour of the month instructions with systems held together by sticky tape and string is immaterial.

Perhaps a few Kirstie Allsopp type instructions would fair well at ACPO level? 😉

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