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Whitespace signs the UK Police Industry Charter

The inception of the Police Industry Charter aims to establish fundamental principles that industry partners and UK policing mutually commit to uphold.

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Whitespace is excited to share the news of our commitment to the UK Police Industry Charter, officially unveiled today during the Home Office's Security and Policing event.

Charter Purpose

UK policing is a high-volume consumer of science and technology products and services from a broad range of industry suppliers nationally and internationally.

Policing is also increasingly a digitally enabled sector, delivering a myriad of digital and technology-centric projects and programmes, at local, regional, and national levels, focussed on improving our service to the public.

The federated nature of UK policing provides enormous opportunities for engagement and innovation with private industry, from sole traders to small-medium enterprises (SMEs), and multi-national primes. However, policing’s federated model also presents a significant challenge in engaging with the industry strategically, at scale, and through partnership.

There will always be a necessary amount of transactions between policing and industry. However, by approaching transactions through partnership, demand signals will be clearer, and outcomes for policing and industry will be better. Closer partnerships with industry also present broader opportunities for developing the skills and experiences of our current and future leaders. Ultimately leading to a continuously improving, and cost-effective, service to the public.

The Police Industry Charter has therefore been created to set foundational principles upon which industry partners and UK policing collectively agree to adhere:

• Bringing policing as a whole sector, and industry as a collective of specialist sectors, closer together in strategic partnership to better underpin the design and delivery of products and services.

• Promoting a culture of open dialogue between policing and industry on evolving challenges and opportunities.

• Expanding the opportunities for reciprocal leadership development across policing and industry, particularly risk management, public engagement, crisis management, workforce management, digital transformation, and agile delivery.

• Increasing the return on investment for products and services developed by industry and consumed by UK policing. Supporting the delivery of policing’s modern, competitive science and technology infrastructure.

• Increasing the opportunity for police officers and staff members to develop critical and niche skills in collaboration with industry subject matter experts, and for industry to better understand the roles and requirements across policing.

• Aligning industry to the principle of system and product interoperability as a core fundamental design requirement. Improving policing’s ability to provide enhanced services to the public, more quickly, by driving constant innovation in the market.

• Supporting policing in harnessing science and technology which creates efficiency and capacity in the system, allowing policing to deliver an increasing quality of service to the public.

• Building further transparency into the police and industry relationship by making public the principles on which we agree to operate.

• Supporting and enabling the system that's responsible for product design, skills development, commercial engagement, and implementation.

• Encouraging reciprocity by placing equal emphasis on both industry and policing to adhere to the principles to be successful.

Importantly, it must be made clear that this charter is not intended to:

• Replicate or supersede existing activity across the system about industry or sector-specific engagement.

• Be formally binding. It is designed to provide a visible commitment to adhere to standards, mechanisms, and best practices.

By signing this charter Whitespace, and policing, agree to work to these principles and promote greater partnership working in our collective mission to deliver the highest standard of service to the public.

Commitment to Principles

By signing this charter Whitespace and UK Policing signal our commitment to working in partnership to meet the National Police Chief’s Council’s ambitions, as stated in the NPCC Science & Technology strategy, in delivering a world-leading police science and technology system.

Whitespace commits to:

1. Designing our products, services, and systems on the principle of Interoperability First

• We (Whitespace) will design with open architecture as the default, with any decisions to design closed architecture by exception in agreement with the policing customer. Ensuring that UK Policing can remain agile in adopting and adapting technology at pace to meet evolving needs for data fusion and data sharing, and benefiting from increased competition and innovation in the market.

• We (UK Policing) will be clear in our definition of open architecture to ensure consistent application of standards.

• We (UK Policing) will design our requirements to support the development of products,

services, and systems with open architecture as the default. We (UK Policing) will be transparent in building open architecture into procurement processes for products, services and systems.

2. Adopting a Maximum Transparency by Default (MTBD) position for products and services

• For UK Policing to meet its criminal justice and public safety obligations to the public, the products and services it consumes must be fully understood and explainable by those who use them. We (Whitespace) commit to designing products, services and systems on the principle of MTBD.

• This is of specific importance with the rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence. We (Whitespace) will adhere to the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) Artificial Intelligence Principles (2023). We (UK Policing) commit to continually reviewing our AI principles to ensure they remain relevant to evolving AI capability.

• We (UK Policing) will (wherever feasible and achievable) make data available to the industry, to support the development, testing, and evaluation of products and Services.

3. Supporting the professional development of practitioners and senior Leaders

• As a science and technology-enabled sector, UK policing’s leadership must feel confident, informed, and capable of leading the delivery of science, technology, and digital transformation. We (Whitespace) commit to wherever feasible providing mechanisms, such as senior leader placement programmes, that will allow current and future senior leaders to learn from the industry’s approach to leadership and business management.

• We (UK Policing) commit to providing wherever feasible the same mechanisms that will allow private industry leadership to work directly with, and learn from, senior policing leaders to understand and inform policing’s approach to leadership and delivery.

• Wherever possible through delivering products and services to policing, we (Whitespace) will enable skills and knowledge transfer from our subject matter experts to practitioners across policing. Supporting policing in building internal resilience of emerging specialist skills.

• We (UK Policing) will ensure our staff and officers are supported in working closely with industry specialists as part of their continued professional development.

4. Supporting UK Policing in delivering sustainability

• We (Whitespace) commit to designing products and services that support UK Policing in reaching its target of Net Zero by 2030, in line with current and future strategic requirements.

• We (Policing) commit to designing requirements that enable industry partners wherever possible to deliver products and services that contribute to our target of Net Zero 2030.

• We (Whitespace) commit to designing and delivering products and services that support policing’s duty to deliver a sustainable, ethical, and legitimate service to the public.

5. Collaboration and Partnership

• We (Whitespace and UK Policing) will ensure products, services and systems are developed collaboratively, with end users, to meet recognised policing challenges. We (Whitespace and UK policing) will take a product-centric approach to design, delivery, and continuous improvement of products and services.

• We (UK Policing) will work in strategic partnership with industry to set clear demand signals on science and technology needs that can be met. Increasing the return on investment across science and technology, and delivering an improved outcome for the public.

• We (Whitespace) will foster a whole public system approach. Where cross-sectoral technology synergies exist we will consider application and benefit in policing, explore reuse, promote economies of scale, and optimise collective benefits for the public sector.

We look forward to continuing our technology partnership with the UK Police sector and jointly innovating together throughout 2024.


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