Police Officers with ‘underperforming’ IT skills could be fired from the force, a new report suggests.
Think tank Reform published a report by suggesting that all Police Officers and surrounding staff should have “rudimentary skills” to use technology effectively to benefit the future demand police forces face, as technology develops and new ways to use digital technology within industries emerges.
Within the report it proposes that Police Chiefs should be able to sack staff that are lacking the appropriate IT skills needed to deal with police day-to-day cybercrime problems.
Getting rid of staff without the required IT skills would enable police forces to employ those who do have skills and better the workforce that deal with cybercrimes.
Reform’s report outlines staff without the required IT skillset could be fired in able to better shape the force with a range of powers in order to design an effective workforce to meet the public demand.
Mark O’Donoghue, Managing Director at AVADO Digital said; “The rise of cyber-related crime has forced police forces, like many organisations, to face up to the real threat and opportunity of digital disruption. Yet, the report by the think tank Reform is missing the point by proposing that police forces get rid of staff who are not computer literate.”
“For an organisation to be truly digital-first, the culture and mindset of staff has to change, and it’s important this shift comes from the very top. Training is at the heart of the digital transformation journey. Whether it’s data analysis skills, phishing expertise or even experience in a particular type of software; if your organisation is, or wants to be utilising a particular digital skillset, then specialist knowledge will lead to organisation-wide adoption.”
Although the report criticises those who do not have the required skills, current officers serving in the force fought against the suggestions and vowed the force members are well trained in IT areas that they need after technology has been implemented to help frontline police force work already, such as body worn cameras, according to the report.
Furthermore, the report revealed that some officers interviewed for the report said frontline staff were involved in the design and testing of new technology, therefore have a good knowledge.
Cybercrime is a growing issue across security and officers do need skills to be able to fight against this, however, time and money could potentially be wasted or stretched by re-recruiting IT skilled staff instead of training current officers further.
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David Emm, Principal Security Research at Kaspersky Lab, said: “With the rise of crime in the cyber world, it is crucial that the skill set of police officers matches the importance of this new battleground. However the police, like any organisation, need a diverse range of skills.
“The focus for police forces, like any other organisation, should be on on-going education and up skilling existing staff. Many industries are suffering from a lack of technology skills, and this can only be remedied by increasing internal awareness and by encouraging young people with a passion for cyber security to use their skills for the greater good.”
Back in 2012, the Winsor Review looked at police officers pay and work conditions, offering the system of compulsory severance. However, the proposal wasn’t pursued so officers lacking the required IT skills remained in the force. However, Reform has suggested re-evaluating the decision and think the Government should implement Sir Tom Winsor’s 2012 recommendation.