Agenda item


Verbal update and presentation by the Chief Digital and Information Officer. The purpose of this item is to provide the Police & Crime Panel with an overview of Surrey Police Force IT Strategy, issues and risks. 





Anthony Croxford, Chief Digital and Information Officer (Surrey & Sussex Police)


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. The Chief Digital and Information Officer gave a presentation of Surrey Police’s IT Strategy, outlining priorities, challenges, technology principles and opportunities.


  1. The Chair raised concerns around national IT capabilities. The Chief Digital and Information Officer explained that many national capabilities were already in place such as with the police national database, police national computer (PNC), ANPR and CAID. The challenge was around the replacement of older systems which had to be kept alive pending implementation of new national replacements.


  1. The Chair noted technological improvements in facial recognition technology but questioned if any influence could be brought to bear to achieve a cross-county CCTV policy. The Chief Digital and Information Officer answered in the affirmative from a technology perspective and explained that work was underway to set up a CCTV governance board across the two forces to address these issues. 16 different video management systems are currently in use and there is a real opportunity to simplify and standardise CCTV and to minimise technical diversity. A convergence roadmap is being drawn up. The Chairman asked for the Panel to be given regular updates. This was an important matter and a subject of great interest to the Panel.


Action ii:  OPCC/Support Officer to schedule update/s on the CCTV convergence roadmap.

  1. A Member questioned the spending requirement and timeline for the IT Strategy and how far the Force was on or off the budget. The Chief Digital and Information Officer explained that the in-year budget for revenue is in a good place with an underspend of around half a million of the £18.1 million budget because of a successful renegotiation of license costs. From a capital perspective, an overspend of around £200,000 was expected because of investments that were not budgeted for in the NICHE case management capability for Surrey. For 2024/25 and beyond there is currently a committed spend of £2.6 million for 2024/5, going up to £3 million in outer years. However, this was not the full and final spend which was subject to clarity on funding for change programmes.


  1. The Member asked when Epsom would be allowed to use the DISC app system, already in use in Guildford, to report business crime. The Commissioner clarified that the DISC system was not owned by Surrey Police, therefore there was no role for the police to dictate its rollout, although they were continuing to assess the usefulness of the system. The Commissioner added that retail crime could be reported via social media channels in addition to 101 and 999. The Member asked for Surrey Police to help remove any blockers to reporting through DISC, and specifically for a 101 email address to switch on the system in Epsom.


  1. A Member referred to a recent internal audit report on 26th September 2023 that found only limited assurance in the Force’s database management system. What weaknesses had been identified and what actions are being taken to address those? The Chief Digital and Information Officer explained that the shortfalls were around controls, measures, and standardisation. The Officer said they had several different teams across DDaT (Digital Data and Technology Strategy) doing the same tasks but slightly differently and recorded in different ways which made it difficult to manage effectively.  Work was underway to remove inconsistencies and create a more standard way of working, for example in updating or patching systems. All actions had been completed on time or were on track for completion by end of year. The Officer outlined a positive and constructive relationship with the internal audit team and a desire to get real value from the audit process.


  1. A Member questioned why Police volunteers are not told about IT updates, resulting in major problems logging on to systems remotely and getting through to IT support to try and resolve the issues. The Chief Digital and Information Officer stated he was not aware of this issue but had contacted the lead for volunteers and the service manager to get it resolved.


Action iii: Chief Digital and Information Officer to resolve the volunteer issue raised by the Vice Chairman.