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Call for innovation in public safety projects.

Northgate Information Solutions : 10 March, 2008  (Company News)
Barriers towards development in the public safety service sector preventing innovative potential in this area according to Northgate.
Northgate Information Solutions has urged the government in a report published today to rebuild public trust in community safety services by putting innovation at the heart of citizen-centred community safety strategies.

In a wide-ranging response to Sir Ronnie Flanagan's final report, Northgate argues that new forms of collaboration between the public, private and not-for-profit sectors are vital to promoting community well-being.

The report welcomes many of the recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, but highlights the need to tackle some of the barriers to change, including:.

* a fragmented market place which acts to prevent local forces from developing more strategic and mature relationships with technology partners.
* a tension between nationally driven top-down projects and allowing forces the flexibility to innovate and spread best practice.
* lack of investment in national infrastructure projects and innovation.

The response calls for a range of initiatives to promote citizen-centred services and for the development of a new Community Safety Innovation Council to drive through change and support the development of a national IT strategy. Composed of representatives from community safety services, academia and industry, the Council would act as a catalyst for timely and responsive change. It would be modelled along the lines of that recently established in the health service as a result of the Darzi review.

Ian Blackhurst, Managing Director of Criminal Justice & Public Safety at Northgate Public Services, said today: "We wholeheartedly welcome Sir Ronnie Flanagan's report, but it begs some questions about how we make change happen. At all levels of the police service, I sense there is a real desire for change, but amongst many a frustration that whilst some problems have long been identified, too little gets done too late.

"The forthcoming green paper needs to grasp the central point of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's report that what is required is a sea-change in cultural attitudes. It is time to end the fallacy that technology is all about systems rather than servicing the business of policing and community safety.

"This is simply far too important to be left to a top-down approach. We need to liberate local forces to enable them to innovate to develop appropriate strategic responses to tackling community safety, serious crime and national security issues. Above all, this means getting the right balance between national, regional and local initiatives and ensuring that the overall system is flexible enough to collaborate to solve problems in a timely and responsive fashion."
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