Majority of UK police forces lagging behind on cloud

FOI data shows 75% of policing data is still held on legacy infrastructure

Police contract

The majority of police forces are still heavily reliant on legacy infrastructure to access and manage their apps and services, according to new data.

Although the government has pushed for all of its divisions to take a cloud-first attitude, the police service has seemingly not taken this advice and 75% are yet to migrate to the cloud.

A freedom of information (FOI) request sent by Citrix to police forces across the country exposed a huge hole in public service digital transformation.

Less than a third of the police forces said they are using the public cloud to access and manage their data, while almost two-thirds said they store less than a quarter of their data in the cloud.

However, moving more services to the cloud is a priority for most of the police forces that responded to the request, with 88% saying they are looking at investing in new infrastructure, software and platforms in the next 12 months, but dwindling budgets have meant the rollout has been slower than hoped.

"With a 19% reduction in funding from central government and council taxes since 2010/11, police forces are on the lookout for innovative, cost-effective technology to improve security and increase operational efficiency," said Darren Fields, Citrix managing director for UK and Ireland.

"Yet, many police forces across the UK are held back by legacy IT systems making it a challenging exercise to consolidate and transition data and applications to the cloud.

"However, the cloud will inevitably become integral to service delivery due to solutions typically being cost-effective, scalable, secure and flexible and is likely to become an indispensable asset for police forces in the year ahead."

There have been efforts to modernise policing networks over the past year in a bid to move more data to the cloud, however, these tend to have been isolated to a few forces, most notably the Metropolitan Police. In September, the Met Police said it had secured a deal with Microsoft to replace its legacy infrastructure with its Azure platform, meanwhile Lincolnshire Police announced in November it had secured a ten-year deal with Motorola to modernise its control room.

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