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Specialist capabilities

“The aim of the Specialist Capabilities Programme is to help protect ‘the local’: ensuring Chief Constables and PCCs have the money they need to retain what the public want and value, whilst recognising that we have to manage the high-end capabilities differently.”
Phil Kay, Specialist Capabilities Programme Director.

What is the Specialist Capabilities Programme?

The evolution of policing capabilities such as Surveillance, Analysis, Cyber, Armed Policing and others has always been a core part of how the service operates. The public expects the police to combat key threats using information and command structures that are wholly unaffected by force boundaries. However, capabilities have often developed in single forces. This has meant that policing has a whole has grown itself in a way that does not maximise the breadth of talent, resources and equipment it has at local, regional and national levels.

If police forces are to maintain the local frontline presence and response that the public want and need, certain capabilities must be delivered in a more efficient, effective and networked way.

The NPCC Specialist Capabilities Programme is changing the way that specific policing activities are delivered across England and Wales. The NPCC Policing Vision 2025 states that policing capabilities should give:

  • Value for money through a range of models for service delivery
  • Standardising of functions where appropriate
  • Rationalisation of locations
  • Flexible deployment to different policing activities
  • Availability to all forces
  • Delivery of these capabilities through national, cross-force or hub structures

This Vision was signed up to by all Chief Constables and PCCs, College of Policing, National Crime Agency, staff associations and other policing and community partners.

What does the Specialist Capabilities Programme do?

The Programme focuses on three core enablers:

  • Data - being able to form a national picture of demand, supply, resourcing and other factors relating to each capability.
  • Economic - ensuring that the delivery of each capability is as affordable and economically efficient as it can be by eliminating the duplication of resources and streamlining procurement processes to ensure that forces are leveraging their combined scale to minimise costs.
  • Leadership - changing behaviour at a senior leadership level so that UK policing is seen as a network of organisations with a shared purpose rather than as a collection of individual sovereign forces. In this way, the service can become greater than the sum of its parts.

This approach allows for the best elements of local policing to be maintained, while also connecting forces to one another and national organisations in ways that increase effectiveness, efficiency and ensure the sustainability of services at a time when funding remains tight.

The Programme is currently working across the following capabilities:

  • Armed policing
  • Cyber
  • Intelligence - analysis, receipt and assess
  • Internet Intelligence and Investigation (III)
  • Major investigations - CCTV, HOLMES, reviews
  • Roads intelligence
  • Forensic Collision Investigation
  • Surveillance
  • TSU

Our aim is to ensure that specialist resources are working to the same high standards as part of a network, so that we can respond with agility to the threats we face at a cost we can afford.

Governance and funding

The Specialist Capabilities Programme reports into the quarterly Specialist Capabilities Delivery Board, which in turn reports to the Police Reform and Transformation Board. The Specialist Capabilities Delivery Board is chaired by NPCC Chair, Martin Hewitt, who is the SRO for the Specialist Capabilities Programme. Membership includes representatives from the APCC, PCCs, chief Constables, the Home Office and the National Crime Agency, and College of Policing.

The Specialist Capabilities Programme is funded from three sources: the NPCC, the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) contribution and funding from the Home Office's Police Transformation Fund.

Further information

To find out more about the work of the Programme please contact us.