Infrastructure > Devices

Finding the right tools for secure police coordination

Published 01 September 2015

NPoCC strategic lead Commander Christopher Greany sets out the challenges facing the organisation in maintaining secure communications, while opening up mobile working to officers


The National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) replaced the Police National Information Coordination Centre (PNICC) in the UK in April 2013. NPoCC was given a remit to broker the mutual aid of specialist police roles in support of on-going operations throughout the UK, maintain an oversight of specialist policing roles nationally, effectively exercise mobilisation of mutual aid and establish reporting mechanisms to government agencies and partners in both steady state and in times of crisis.

Underpinning all this is ensuring we can effectively communicate with our key stakeholders.

As well as day to day importance, communications capability is critical during times of crisis, especially when things happen out of normal working hours. A phone with e-mail access can only get you so far, but a mobile device with access to e-mails, system folders and apps to support efficiency can get you that much further.

Within our existing yearly expenditure for phones, laptops and secure access tokens, which are used to effectively manage the mobilisation of police specialists in support of large operations or in times of crisis, NPoCC was able to purchase and supply tablets to replace these. One key concern, however, was how to secure the sensitive data that would be accessed and used on the tablets.

In addition to purchasing the tablets, we were able to satisfy our secure data mobility requirements by implementing Good Technology as well as Good-secured third-party apps, such as Polaris Office for Good and iAnnotate for Good, to securely view, edit and share Office documents and PDFs.

These mobile collaboration tools have given us the confidence to go about performing our duties and responsibilities knowing we have secure, immediate access to necessary system folders, emails, apps, contacts and more from anywhere at any time. If a device is lost or stolen, our data always remains secure as it is held on our already secure servers and not on the device itself. Further still, while the ability to copy data into the application exists, the ability to copy out doesn't - a further step to prevent secure material not being copied onto a device.

This has greatly increased our mobility and efficiency and is very easy to use. Prior to signing the agreement, our employees used laptops with RSA keys. Not only were these expensive to buy, it meant that employees had to be connected to Wi-Fi to work remotely. As a unit that operates on behalf of the entire country, members of the team are always on the move and therefore a lot of time is lost when employees are unable to connect to the network. Having a secure enterprise mobility platform is a highly effective solution to overcome this challenge, and is easy for our IT personnel to set policies and manage.

To get the most out of your staff, you must provide them with the right tools to do the job. This is as true in law enforcement as it is in any other profession. The small investment we've made in iPads and our security infrastructure has led to significant cost savings and improvements in speed of service, mobility and functionality. This has given my team the right tools to get the job done.

As our work expands, we will continue to explore the range of secure mobility tools available that can further help us effectively manage the range of work we do. For now, the systems we have in place perfectly suit our mobility requirements and we are very happy with the results we have achieved to date.

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