RPA in the Police Force

RPA in the Police Force

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by over 20,000 over the past 9 years. This makes the total figure 122,000, which is the lowest recorded level since the early 1980s. Naturally, this has led to a dramatic spike in crime rates, in turn making the need for a stronger police force presence greater than ever.

RPA has huge potential to solve challenges faced by police officers and staff every day. As with many services in the public sector, there is a lot of administrative work that tends to be monotonous and time-consuming that requires little human judgement. Alongside being demotivating and disempowering, these tasks take up precious time which could otherwise be spent responding to emergencies as quickly as possible.

In 2018, a review was conducted in the UK police force to identify opportunities for automation. With the increased use of electronic data and digital services, many possible applications of RPA were identified. These included automation of traffic offenses, crime reporting, updating alcohol licenses and auditing intelligence systems. These tasks are typically carried out multiple times a day nationwide; they are rule-based and repetitive by nature making them ideal candidates for RPA. Automating these types of tasks would help staff to be more efficient daily and would allow officers to spend more time on the frontline.

Within the general public sector, majority of the money spent on the workforce is on administrative tasks, ie. the kinds of roles that have the greatest potential for automation. The government spends £90 billion every yearon the police workforce alone, but with the incorporation of RPA, this figure could be put to much more productive use if not only made more modest. Due to the rise in technology use, the level of cyber-crime is at a record high. Subsequently, the demand for cyber security officers has increased, however with RPA their general task load could be relieved and more of their time could be allocated to other important decision-making tasks. Increasingly complex crimes result in higher investigation costs; therefore, RPA will play a major part within the police force over the upcoming years due to its inevitable return on what would be a low capital investment.