Transforming police public contact with technology by Jon Graham

Earlier this month, Salesforce Tower hosted the most recent Cityforum event; ‘Transforming Police Public Contact’. Triad were one of the sponsors and I found the day particularly inspiring.  The event is a significant date in the calendar for the police contact management community and is well supported by national lead chief officers and staff from forces across the UK.

Representatives from policing and the technology sector came together to discuss and debate the most pertinent issues surrounding the future of contact management. It was a perfect example of policing and technology working together for the common good. I strongly believe that both need to do this, if we are to turn things around in the contact management space.

Contact management – Time for a turnaround

If you are unfamiliar with them, then The PEEL reports offer a fascinating insight into how police forces are performing across several areas of policing. Most areas are graded in one of five categories: outstanding, good, adequate, requires improvement or inadequate, accompanied by a traffic light system that includes a dark green for outstanding, a burnt orange for adequate and dark red for inadequate. In terms of “responding to the public”, the 2021/22 PEEL assessments showed a rainbow pattern with most forces graded as outstanding, good or adequate. Of the thirteen forces assessed in the 2023/25 PEEL assessments for “Responding to the public”, none of the forces have achieved higher than adequate. Whilst each police force has its own unique set of challenges for responding to the public effectively, what they have in common is a need to improve their contact management with the public.

How can technology be used as a force for good?

The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) are vocal about the role that technology can play in solving some of their biggest challenges. They recognise that “Today, virtually every crime has a digital element, often involving vast amounts of complex data. This presents policing with a serious challenge. We recognise this and the need to do more and are taking action.” You can see that action in the recently published National Contact Management Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028. And in the Cityforum event too.

There were several sessions during the day, with an impressive list of speakers and plenty of passion. One of the sessions was dedicated to policing and technology, and both were given the opportunity to pose a series of questions to each other.

Firstly, the technology sector responded to three questions that policing had put to them.

  1. What learning can private sector partners share that might enhance trust and confidence in policing?
  2. How can the technology sector help the police to understand public needs and deliver a successful citizen experience? What future approaches to data and technology might support this success?
  3. What is the contribution of technology to the measurement of performance and continual improvement?

Each sponsor took on one question each, with Triad responding to question two. Responses were non-partisan and focused on sharing experiences and the positive changes we can make together. The room was receptive, and there was an openness to listen to the technology sector’s thinking around topics such as adopting positive practice from the private sector, how police can build systems with citizen support and how using the right technology for its intended purpose can improve performance.

Next up, the return fixture. The technology sector was given the chance to ask three questions to policing.

  1. We know that technology is available today that can support policing to enhance citizen experience and improve the response to the public. What are the blockers preventing you from implementing it? And who can unblock them?
  2. Thinking about the technology, processes, and citizen experience, what is your vision for police contact management centres in ten years’ time? And what do you think the priorities should be in order to turn these into reality?
  3. Think of your best suppliers in policing. What is it you like about them, and how do they help add value to your relationship?

It was encouraging to see such engagement from senior leaders and policing delegates in responding to the technology sector’s questions. Budgets still seem to be a barrier to technology investment. We, the technology sector, need to be responsible for highlighting the benefits that investment can bring in terms of cost efficiencies and improved performances.

Collaboration in the contact management community

Watching senior leaders explain their plans has left a positive impact on me. It feels like there is a community building across policing and technology that is pulling together to make a difference. And it is rewarding to play a part in this. In Triad’s case, we do not have a product, solution, or software to sell. What we offer is an independent, agnostic view of how police forces can utilise technology to address their individual critical needs. And over a decade’s experience in using technology as a force for good in law enforcement.

It does not surprise me how much the policing and technology communities are on the same page around the pertinent issues in contact management. Perhaps there is a message to policing that the technology sector is here to help and support you in the areas you are looking to make improvements in:

  • Better performance.
  • Improved citizen experience.
  • Increased staff morale.
  • Decrease in failure demand.
  • Creating cost efficiencies.
  • Freeing up staff to move back to frontline duties.

Fast-forward three years, and I would love to reflect on the Cityforum event as the starting gun that led to real, tangible change. I look forward in anticipation to what lies ahead between now and then, and I will remain committed to supporting policing in its quest to deliver outstanding contact management with the public. It’s perfectly achievable if we collaborate now.

If you are interested in our law enforcement work or have a question for the Triad Policing and National Security team, please get in touch with or contact the Triad team here.