Clue’s Commercial Director, Thomas Drohan, provides an insight into his thinking on joining The Police ICT Company’s vendor management service as a managed vendor and what the future might have in store.

As techUK brought the police technology supplier community and The Police ICT Company together in late September for an event focused on what the future holds in store for policing transformation and how SMEs can play their part, Clue became the latest technology supplier to join the Company’s vendor management service. This means that all forces can access Clue’s investigation case management software at the best possible price and in a way that has never been possible before.

“All forces can access Clue’s investigation case management software at the best possible price and in a way that has never been possible before”

The association between the Company and Clue gives an insight into what the future of police technology can look like. Investigators can have access to software that is quick to deploy, easy to use and which puts powerful functionality in their hands. And the deal means that Clue can be bought instantly – with no lengthy procurement processes, for as long as it’s needed: with pay per use replacing lengthy contracts if that’s what users want. It means Clue can be brought in for a single investigation if that’s all it is required for.

Since the launch of the third generation of Clue’s software two years ago, user experience has driven the development of every new feature and the software continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It has led to a surge in user numbers – up about 400% in 24 months. But one of the biggest issues our users face is sharing data between systems. So, as well as providing an open API for Clue, we realised that we needed to take steps to promote a collaborative approach across the sector.

This realisation led us to propose the launch of INTEROPen across policing – an action group to accelerate the development of open standards for interoperability. INTEROPen has been around for some time in the health sector and provides a forum to collaborate on the design and application of technical interoperability standards. Clue has written to the Justice and Emergency Committee of techUK, the IT industry trade body, arguing that the same approach should be adopted in policing without delay. The project has received enthusiastic support – not least because it chimes so clearly with the plea that the Police ICT Company is making of suppliers – to consider APIs in future developments.

“The launch of INTEROPen across policing – an action group to accelerate the development of open standards for interoperability”

With all the issues that we hear about disclosure, the reality is that many investigations into serious crime are being managed via spreadsheets and Word documents. We can see how financial constraints and anxiety about procurement rules have prevented Senior Investigating Officers from getting the right systems in place. Which is why this collaboration with PITCO goes a long way towards addressing those constraints. Clue can be bought and deployed in a matter of days – and most users don’t need any more training than a short familiarisation session. This agreement is the missing piece in the jigsaw – bringing the benefits of our modern system within reach for the whole police service.

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