Opportunities Outweigh the Challenges Posed by the IoT in Policing

Today techUK and the Centre of Public Safety launch a new report that makes recommendations on how police forces can best adapt and capitalise on the advent of the IoT.

A report published today by techUK and Centre of Public Safety, Policing and the Internet of Things, explores how police forces can address the challenges and embrace the opportunities associated with the IoT. Endorsed by senior police officers, the report provides recommendations on the first steps required towards creating a digitally-skilled police force that is prepared for the growing uptake of the IoT.

Cyber-crime and online fraud is now the most common crime in the country, with almost one in ten people falling victim[1], and it is anticipated that, with the proliferation of connected devices and sensors, incidents of cyber-crime will continue to rise significantly. On the other hand, the IoT presents enormous opportunities to help police better serve their communities, provide public safety and save money.

The recommendations in Policing and the Internet of Things intend to help the Police Service work collaboratively with industry and civil society in managing changes brought by the IoT, and ultimately maintain world-class policing in the UK. The recommendations include:

Addressing the challenges

  • Creating a new model for partnership with industry and academia for police forces to access the specialist external skills and capabilities needed.
  • The redeployment of the Security Index, listing the devices and applications most targeted by criminals.
  • Improved public outreach and a prominent police voice working closely with NCSC and GCHQ, when fighting cyber-crime.


Maximising the opportunities

  • Improved digital skills across the policing curriculum to give officers greater confidence in using technology.
  • Greater resources for public safety app creation including crime-reporting apps for citizens and crime-monitoring app built into a connected infrastructure.
  • To boost existing digital expertise, position cyber security as a corporate social responsibility so volunteering as a special constable is included as a way of fulfilling a company’s CSR requirements.


ACC Richard Berry, Chief Officer Lead, Digital Investigations and Intelligence Programme, National Police Chiefs’ Council said of the report:

The digital environment presents a number of challenges for public safety and the prevention and detection of crime. Police forces across the country have already adapted locally and there are many pockets of good practice. However, digital challenges can be different to those previously familiar to many in policing.

“Working in new partnerships will help the Police Service discover and respond to threats and opportunities better and, in particular, closer working with industry will be critical. In order to fight crime in the digital age, it is vital that police have a good understanding of market capabilities. It will be important to ensure a regular exchange of ideas is facilitated, for police and industry to work collaboratively in responding to new crime and security issues.

“This report sets out six incremental steps, which will help police forces meet the challenges presented and harness the opportunities available. Beyond this, I hope this report sparks discussion and debate for how we, as the Police Service can rise to the challenges of Digital Darwinism.”

Henry Rex, Programme Manager for Justice and Emergency Services at techUK, explains:

Trends indicate that most crimes will soon involve some use of the Internet, or create some form of digital footprint. Police forces will require the resources and skills to respond to this. With this in mind, the police should look for closer collaborations with new partners, especially in industry and civil society to reduce the risk and acquire the right technologies to do their work effectively. If the police can get to grips with the IoT now, they will not only be able to mitigate against the potential threats, but will also be able to seize the opportunity. An IoT enabled police force would lead to increased efficiency and enhanced public safety."

The full report can be downloaded below.


Policing and the IoT (pdf)


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