14 January 2020

Innovation starts with ideas… and ideas need a home!

Rob Flanagan was appointed as the Innovation and Knowledge Sharing Manager at the College of Policing in July 2019, here he tells us about the new National Map of Police Ideas.


My new exciting role, funded through the Home Office Police Transformation Fund, is focused on speeding up the sharing of new ideas and innovation across policing through the creation of a network of people who can share good practice and scale local ideas into national initiatives.

It has been a crazy few months and we already have some excellent people in place supporting this work, from the officers and staff on the front line, through to the senior officers, projects and partner agencies. We believe that everyone involved in policing should have the opportunity to improve the way they do their jobs and protect the public. As part of our work on innovation and knowledge sharing, we're talking to officers, staff and volunteers across the country to gather and share ideas on how to solve the problems faced by police officers and staff every day. 

Innovation starts with ideas and these ideas need a home. Here at the College of Policing, we are exploring the best way to capture, store and share these ideas. We will then work with partners, senior police leaders and organisations to embed the best ideas into daily operational practice. This will improve working practice for police officers and staff and ultimately improve the service provided to the public.

Some forces already have excellent methods of sharing ideas for local improvements; but feedback from policing has identified that people working in policing want somewhere to share ideas nationally, learning from others and building on experience from other forces.  The College is asking all officers, staff and volunteers to work with us to create a National Map of Police Ideas. We want to find over 1,000 ideas and share these with national programmes (such as those focused on problem-solving, digital policing etc.), the Home Office, PCCs and Chief Officer Teams across all forces.

When we start to talk about ideas, we can often worry that our idea isn't big enough or that people won't listen; I want to change this and make sure senior leaders can see every idea from their staff. Some people will want to improve things that have been frustrating them about their job for some time – and that's good, I'm keen to hear about ideas that could completely change the way that we do something. We've seen some brilliant projects that have changed the way we deal with issues such as missing young people, methods for briefing staff or using smart phone apps for ordering new kit. We also have some new and emerging initiatives which focus on perennial problems in policing, such as staff wellbeing, collaborative working and managing risk.  I will be working with these projects to share ideas that solve some of these issues. 

One final note on innovation and ideas; it's not all about tech! Technology can be a great enabler to innovation so we will often see ideas that use new software or online capabilities to improve the speed or accuracy of how we do our job. This can make our job much easier if the technology is deployed correctly; but some ideas just look at how we do our job away from technology. For example, we often have to fill out several forms containing the same information; which doesn't help anyone. You might have an idea for making this type of admin task much easier or there might be something you have seen away from work that you think could be applied to policing, the National Map of Police Ideas is your opportunity to share these ideas so that we can start implementing those that could work at a local or national level.

Many forces are running innovation days to generate and gather ideas but if you already have an idea you want to submit, then go to www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/policeideas to submit your idea today!

You can contact the Innovation team by emailing innovation@college.pnn.police.uk

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