UK Home Secretary Theresa May has urged police forces to use predictive analytics in crime prevention, instead of spending too much money on expensive, fragmented and outdated systems.
Speaking at the Police ICT Suppliers Summit, May said: "Forces have not yet begun to explore the crime prevention opportunities that data offers."
Stressing the need for appropriate restrictions to ensure privacy and that access and use of data is lawful and correct, May said that the use of predictive analytics might help forces find those most at risk of crime and locations most likely to see crimes committed.
The Home Secretary also said that the use of data could help identify patterns of suspicious activity and target resources more effectively against the greatest threats.
May said that as more people use digital devices, forces must exploit digital information to investigate crimes and better protect the public.
"We need digital investigation capabilities at every rank, in every force," she said.
According to May, the huge amount of digital data being generated by people each day resulted in an increase in demand for digital forensic skills.
May challenged the police and its suppliers to be ambitious in shaping the future, and said there is an ever increasing demand for officers who can undertake digital investigations and analyse as well as interpret data.
She noted that when the government came to power, police forces were investing £1bn per year on IT, with 2,000 different systems in 43 forces.
The number has since improved, she added, with the investment on police IT in England and Wales coming to about £600m in 2015/16.
The Home Office is responsible for 21 national policing systems, with costs expected to be around £104m. With the support of IBM, it has also consolidated 122 contracts for analytic services with over 50 government organisations into one contract.
Last year, Manchester Police ordered 3,148 IoT wearable body-cameras, which are due to be operational by spring this year.
TASER International has been selected to provide the Axon Body 2 type of cameras. Data will be stored and managed on Evidence.com, Axon’s cloud-based platform.