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Ten police forces bag £23m collaborative fund to transform regional services

Ten different police forces and the College of Policing have pocketed shares of a £23m fund designed to sponsor projects that will drive the transformation of policing in England and Wales, the new home secretary, Amber Rudd, has announced.

The transformation fund, set up as part of last year’s Spending Review, is police-led through the Police Reform and Transformation Board, occupied by police and crime commissioners and chief constable representatives, alongside senior leaders in policing.

The successful bids include 10 separate forces, with some – like Norfolk Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police – bagging more than one share of the fund to pay for multiple schemes.

The highest earner overall was Nottinghamshire Police, which will take home just over £2.2m this financial year and £3.54m in 2017-18 to fund, in collaboration with Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, a project to eliminate duplication between forces and ensure they have access to a large pool of information. This is expected to help officers make faster and more informed decisions.

Other winners include Norfolk Constabulary, which won £1.62m this year, with a further £2.44m expected in 2017-18, to continue to fund regional police national action plan co-ordinators and analysts to fight child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The same force has also secured £726,000 in 2016-17 and £247,000 next year to “add further technology” to the Child Abuse Image Database so that it includes facial recognition software that can identify whether the same victim has been depicted with different offenders, and whether the same offender has been depicted with multiple victims.

In partnership with Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Essex forces, Norfolk will also use £1.1m over the next two years to pay for a regional pilot for undercover resources to combat online child sexual exploitation.

As well as targeting region-specific policing issues, all of the projects include strong collaboration with either neighbouring forces or all forces in England and Wales.

Rudd, who has the final say in what forces secure bids,said: “The job of reforming the police must continue and these successful bids demonstrate exactly the kind of transformative thinking that we expect from forces, with creative plans which will enable them to be more efficient and serve their communities more effectively.

“While 10 forces will lead on the work, we expect these pioneering projects will benefit all 43 police forces across England and Wales.

“The police transformation fund is incentivising policing to meet future challenges, and I am delighted by the strong early response to the launch of the fund from police and crime commissioners and chief constables – it is clear that they share my passion and determination to finish the job of police reform.”

The planned projects are also a step in the way of changing the national picture of policing. Last year, the Commons Public Accounts Committee slammed the Home Office for its “hands-off” approach to police forces, which hindered their ability to deliver services and share knowledge.


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