Northamptonshire Police has been awarded more than £6.5m of Home Office funding to invest in new mobile technology, forensic techniques and greater integration with the fire service.
A total of £16 million has been awarded to the five forces that make up EMPCP (East Midlands Police Collaboration Programme) - Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, with the county force receiving £6.55 million.
A total of £1.52 million of the cash will be used to support the ongoing work to bring greater integration between Northamptonshire Police and Northants Fire & Rescue Service.
The force will use £3 million to investment in new mobile technology, allowing officers to complete paperwork on the move and enabling them to spend more time on patrol in the community without having to return to a station.
Funding has also been provided for projects involving all five regional forces.
This includes £2.063 million for further investment in body-worn video to help in the collection of evidence of criminality while on the frontline, and £808,000 to support an integrated ‘virtual courts system’ across the East Midlands, linking all police custody areas, victim suites and courts.
In addition, the EMPCP successfully applied for funding to trial the use of RapidDNA technology which enables DNA profiles to be returned in less than 90 minutes without needing a skilled technician to operate.
Funding of £306,000 has been granted on condition the East Midlands forces collaborate with Lancashire Constabulary during the trial.
Funding worth £5.34 million has also been awarded to Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire for the development of a crime and justice IT platform to improve the sharing of information and the submission of evidence between forces and the criminal justice system.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “We welcome this announcement which will provide a very significant financial boost to some key areas where the Force is already demonstrating real innovation.
“These include support for our efforts to bring greater integration with the Fire and Rescue Service and for technological innovation such as more body-worn cameras and, in particular, really important investment in mobile technology that will allow our frontline officers to spend more time in the communities they patrol rather than being reliant on a police station to do their necessary paperwork.”
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said: “I am pleased to see the innovation and forward thinking work the Chief Constable and I are leading to protect frontline services has been recognised and supported by this Home Office funding.”
The Home Office has also confirmed funding for two projects agreed under the pre-cursor funding announced last year.
This includes £1.431 million towards the development of a regional shared service between Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire for ICT convergence, and £1.186 million towards a forensic centre of excellence involving the five regional forces.
The Home Office received 193 bids to this year’s Innovation Fund compared with 115 bids received during last year’s Precursor Fund.
The bid was submitted to the Government’s Innovation Fund on behalf of the EMPCP.
The fund is designed to promote collaborative working between forces, support improved digital working and enable investment in a range of innovative delivery approaches that have the potential to improve policing and increase efficiency.