Technology In Policing : An ethnographic study of the use of information and communication technology within Bedfordshire police force
Abstract: Policing in The United Kingdom is an intricate business, balancing the enforcement of statute and other laws while dealing with public safety and security. Policing engages a diverse and complicated set of organisational structures and processes relying heavily on the skill and expertise of officers on the ground. Their role in preventing and or intercepting crime before, during and after it occurs is integral to sustaining peace, security, law and order in communities. The police operational and logistics staff work day to day with information and communication technologies, ranging from conventional databases and information systems to ubiquitous and specialised tools. Understanding the use of technology and its management in policing has formed the backbone of this research conducted through a qualitative approach. This study adopted an interpretive paradigmic analytical lens using ethnography situated in the workplace as a methodology. The qualitative study took the form of field immersion for nine months using interviewing, and shadowing/observation to suit the complexity of the socio-technical context. Analysis was conducted using thematic analytical methods. Understanding how the police force interact with and shape the way that information and communication technologies enable them to fight crime is, then, the subject of this thesis. The findings highlighted the complexities and intricacies involved in the use of technology, identifying unique differentiations in the way technology is engaged and integrated into policing including comparative understanding relative to other sectors and industries. On the whole the central features of this work highlight understanding of the role information and communication technologies; usefulness, usage in practice and operational activity, strategic business goals, knowledge management, business intelligence and intelligence led architecture, governance and performance models in policing the county of Bedfordshire, England.
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