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Avon and Somerset benefits from latest Home Office Innovation Fund


Devon and Cornwall PCC Tony Hogg, Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill, Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens and Wiltshire PCC Angus Macpherson

Avon and Somerset is set to share nearly £4 million of government funding for pioneering projects following the latest Home Office Police Innovation Fund announcements.

Last November the Home Secretary, Theresa May, wrote to Police and Crime Commissioners across the country to let them know she was launching an innovation fund totalling £50 million per year.

The latest funding saw three successful bids for Avon and Somerset including £1.76 million towards the next phase of a four-force forensic collaboration in England and Wales. A further £1.42 million to transform the use and storage of digital imaging evidence in Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall and Dorset. As well as £751,500 for the roll out of the ground-breaking multi-agency ‘Halcon One’ project across Taunton Deane Borough.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "I am delighted that the Home Office continues to recognise the innovative work not only going on across the South-west but in Somerset as well.

"I am particularly pleased to see the roll-out of the ‘Halcon One’ project across Taunton. I have seen first-hand the impressive difference this scheme is making to local residents. Further embedding the joint working between the police, the council and many local partners is going to continue to cut crime and improve lives."

Acting Chief Constable John Long said: "Each of these pioneering projects demonstrates innovative methods of policing and allow us to take further massive steps forward to become an even more modern police force. This will improve how we work and the support we give to our communities.

"Not only will the projects allow us to save money and strengthen the partnerships we already have with our regional forces and partner agencies but also will ensure we keep our communities safe and feeling safe."

Almost £40,000 has also been awarded to help rural communities tackle crime. The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), which Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens joined in March has also benefited from the Home Office Police Innovation Fund. The NCRN now has funding to act as a think tank to research and bring in ways to reducing rural crime.

The funding approved by the Home Office is for 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Further details…

Regional forensic services collaboration

A new regional forensic service including Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire, Dorset and Avon and Somerset is already being developed. The latest funding will allow the project to produce a streamlined state-of-the-art forensics service at a lower cost.

The Home Office has agreed to fund £1.76 million towards the project on top of the £880.000 the project received in January 2014.

Phase one will see fingerprint identification, submissions and a drugs analysis unit at Avon and Somerset, fingerprint identification, submissions and chemical enhancement laboratories at Devon and Cornwall and a chemical enhancement laboratory in Gloucestershire.

Transforming the use and storage of digital imaging evidence

This four-force bid will radically transform the way in which digital imagery is used by police, local authority and criminal justice partners in Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall and Dorset.

Building on the successful innovation fund bid from January, 2014 the latest funding will allow Avon and Somerset Constabulary to fine tune the digital evidence management across the region, understand the demand and develop a regional cloud based storage solution.

Digital evidence is a vital asset in tackling 21st Century crime. The project will encompass the recording of digital images (by mobile phone, video and stills cameras and CCTV) through to storage, management, sharing, retrieval and disposal of images.

The project is designed to improve service to victims, increase time spent on patrol by reducing bureaucracy, and speed up the criminal justice process.

Halcon Project across Taunton Deane Borough

Posted on Wednesday 30th July 2014
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