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The majority of the budget is spent on supporting outdated systems - according to report. Forces need to stop wasting their budgets on outdated computer systems and invest in new technology. A new report by think tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says many police hours are wasted carrying out basic data management tasks, due to severe deficiencies in the forces’ digital infrastructure. It highlights how the majority of police IT budgets are spent supporting old systems, with little funding available to invest in new technology. The report, compiled after six months research, argues forces are unable to capitalise on the opportunities presented by advance technology, which has already revolutionised many other sectors. RUSI research analyst Alexander Babuta said: “With police hours becoming an increasingly scarce resource, it is more important than ever that valuable time is not wasted carrying out routine administrative tasks.” He added if the budget was spent on new technology the costs will be recovered quickly in the savings made to time. The report also suggests forces should coordinate nationally to overcome challenges by unifying all police data. Mr Babuta said new technology is gradually being introduced, however, they are incompatible on a national level. "Digital infrastructure is compartmentalised because of the highly localised nature of policing procurement, resulting in poor data sharing and little coordination at the national level,” he added. For example, Durham Constabulary uses a new system called the Harm Assessment Risk Tool (HART). The system classifies suspects at a low, medium or high risk of offending and has been tested by the force with 98% accuracy. Mr Babuta, points out the system is significantly better at finding who is at greater risk of reoffending – better than intelligence based assessments. However he stresses that officers’ professional judgement should not be replaced by this and “the idea would be to support officers and enable them to be more effective.” However, Durham only uses local data for this – therefore if a person moves from one county to Durham, they won’t be on the system. If the database was unified they would have this access to this information. “Some forces have started to address the problem locally, but there has been little progress at the national level. Only when a unified national infrastructure is in place for centrally managing all police data will forces be able to make effective use of big data technology,” he added. Mr Babuta told Police Oracle unifying all databases will be difficult as there are 220, but suggested the databases could be combined and then put on a nationwide force search engine. HMIC and Mr Babuta also make future recommendations of implementing Predictive Hotspot Mapping (PHM). PHM can use past crime data to predict where crime could occur, as well as what type of offences may be committed. HMIC teamed up last with the London School of Economics lasy year to build a picture of “predicted demand” on policing in the 181,000 census output areas. The inspectorate warned forces must have a better grasp of what they are likely to face in the years to come as they deal with increasingly limited resources. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor said: “It’s just an enormously valuable instrument, which many of them do not have "At a local level, the inspectors themselves know where the troubled families are; they know where habitual criminals live. “But to have that at force level but also to be able to drill down to small units in a particular area; that is an enormously valuable tool.” HMIC argued police forces need a more effective approach to prevent crime from happening, although it admits understanding future demand is not easy. The RUSI report concludes that introducing new tech is all well and good, but stresses that any investment will be wasted if officers are unable or unwilling to use the software and tools provided to them- therefore there should be sufficient training provided. View on Police Oracle