The Metropolitan Police have enlisted the support of tech giant Microsoft in a bid to transform the force’s digital capabilities and reduce crime in London.
Bosses are hoping the computing firm’s technology will help them identify more offenders, while saving officers time and cutting costs.
The move is part of a drive to make the force more data-driven, by rolling out Microsoft 365 – the company’s suite of cloud-based services – to all Met Police employees, making information more readily available when on patrol.
Microsoft Teams, the PC-maker’s communications platform which allows chat and file storage, is also included in the deal to improve collaboration and communications across the workforce.
“Technology gives us the most incredible opportunity to identify more offenders, intervene before crimes are committed, locate fugitives or missing persons, as well as proving associations and motivations,” said Angus McCallum, Scotland Yard’s chief information officer.
“But, importantly, technology gives our evidence greater integrity and gives us greater legitimacy.
“Our work with Microsoft will enable us to seize the opportunities enabled by digital technology to achieve the best outcomes in the pursuit of justice and the support of victims.”
Microsoft said its E5 security platform and Advanced Threat Protection will protect all sensitive information and is able to detect potential cyber threats.
The firm is also working with the Met on new digital investigation processes that it hopes will speed up the force’s investigative operations and give senior management clearer oversight of the costs.
“Data is at its most valuable when it is harnessed to tackle the most important societal issues facing citizens”, said Cindy Rose, chief executive of Microsoft UK.
“The combination of Microsoft 365, Azure, digital forensics and analytics will put London’s police officers on the front foot when it comes to what matters most to citizens – reducing levels of crime and keeping everyone in London safer.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, total recorded crime in London was up 3% in 2018 compared with the previous year, with the total number of crimes recorded by police forces across England and Wales at 5.8 million, 7% more than in 2017.
The Met’s own statistics for the financial year ending in March suggested a 25% drop in homicides to 122 from 163 in the previous period, as well as a decrease in stabbings.