Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Using de-facto standards to help achieve the CSR challenge

November 26, 2015

At the first combined conference of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the National Police Chiefs Council, the topic that will be present – directly or indirectly – in every conversation will be the next phase of the Comprehensive Spending Review. The financial challenges being directed at the Police and Crime Commissioners and the Chief Constables are not reducing to say the least, and in addition to the CSR, consider the ever more complex and changing face of crime, the focus on the vulnerable and ‘at risk’ and the recognition of the fact that in some forces welfare cases now represent the largest category of reported incidents.


So against this backdrop, and recognising the drive towards evidence based closely coupled with technology enabled policing, the digital transformation of our UK Police forces will continue to be an ever more important area of focus.

With forces travelling along the digital transformation journey, it is important to consider the “standardisation” challenge and remind us all how de facto standards in particular could be considered to help accelerate the move towards an ever more technology enabled police service. The force of the future is one which supports multi agency working through flexible and secure IT – but recognising the changing face of policing here in the UK, Police forces need to be able to deliver secure multi agency working now, not in the distant future.

In the absence of large budgets, looking and driving for commonly deployed approaches is a good place to start.

At Cisco we believe that the deployed LAN and Wireless environment – the communications infrastructure across the UK Police forces is an overlooked enabler. Cisco estimates that over 90% of the fixed and wireless LAN estate is Cisco based, and we are also the chosen technology for the Courts Wireless LAN programme. When you consider that Cisco are also the chosen LAN and WAN provider in many of the Fire and Ambulance services across the UK (estimate is > 70%), this enabling layer of intelligent networks is a platform that can be far better utilised than it is now.

For example, in a multi-agency working environment, the team members need access to common data, but the level of access has to be adjusted based upon the role they are performing. So an approach here would be to give general secure network access, and then to unlock the functionality of the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) inherent in the LAN and Wireless platforms. This functionality will provide a foundation level of access control on a per user basis. This can be extended to include role based access control on a per device basis – a vital enabler and level of control for true IT enabled Multi Agency working.

So putting it simply, setting a central policy to control who is able to access the network, and then what services they can access from whichever device, based upon their security levels and the security of that device.

This is just one example of how we believe de-facto standards can be used to help speed up the digital transformation of UK policing. As a major provider to the UK police market, Cisco will continue to develop and deploy best of breed repeatable technology architectures across the full spectrum of IT deployment – Data Centres, Enterprise Networking, Collaboration and Security.

Cisco are a major sponsor of the conference with BT and Taser, and we look forward to discussing this ongoing digital transformation journey over a coffee with you in the BT/Cisco lounge, or at the pre-conference reception and conference dinner that we are also sponsoring.

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