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Déjà vu – deploying technology to support lockdown

May 20, 2024 by Alistair Enser

What a weekend that was. I had initially planned to write about the deployment of resources to enforce lockdown in Wales, but the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday night that England would also go into lockdown from Thursday adds a new dimension to today’s article.

Pressures on the police

It comes on the back of the survey I ran last week, which revealed overwhelming support for technology to support lockdown and enforce distancing. As a business that works extensively with police forces across the UK, I find it interesting that Welsh Police forces are having to dedicate resources to enforce distancing and monitor travel in and out of the country when they could be used elsewhere to address frontline crime.

I fear we are seeing an increased disparity between frontline policing and new and unexpected demands on their time. Patrolling the lockdown, ensuring safe distancing and issuing fines are all new responsibilities that were unheard of twelve months ago. And they come at a time when funding for police forces is a challenge.

At Reliance High-Tech we talk a lot about the added value that can be extracted from technology – value that lies way beyond security itself. And, in the current circumstances, technology can provide tangible benefits, real-world cost savings and greater efficiencies to public bodies such as the Police.

A bleak outlook

We saw during the first national lockdown that career criminals, unable to break into homes and steal from shops, shifted their focus to often-poorly protected commercial premises. It would be reasonable to expect the same response this time around, and there is a suggestion that crime rates are perhaps on the rise. Malicious damage to the critical infrastructure on which we rely on is once again in the news, as well as the theft of metals by opportunist thieves.

Elsewhere, the terrorism threat level in France is as high as it was in 2015, and has been raised on the back of a number of horrific incidents. Closer to home, the pressure of lockdown is driving frustration and desperation, and the threat of civil unrest and associated crime is tangible.

An immediate solution

The solution lies in monitoring critical sites, and deploying new systems that support analytics. This makes the job of those tasked with maintaining site integrity and operational resilience easier. It supports those on the frontline, such as the police, to do their critical work.

What’s more, a system that may not have been affordable 12 months ago could now be easily affordable and a wise solution given the greater potential cost of damage and loss. We must continually challenge ourselves and our customers in terms of the art of the possible and, rather than base it on the cost of the service, judge it on the size of the risk and the considerable cost of not putting the service in – whether this is in the form of the risk itself, or additional manpower deployed and which could be reused elsewhere.

As a technology business we have always been involved in mitigating these types of risk, but we have seen a notable increase since March from many large public sector and commercial bodies looking into how analytics and deeper system integration can benefit them. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to take a look at what technology can do for your organisation.

Stay safe!