Identity and access management (IAM) has long been a prime concern for the UK’s police forces.
There are thousands of officers needing fast and secure access to data and facilities. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has launched a review of IAM processes used within the police force that is designed to bring together the multiple systems currently used by the force in the best way possible.
As a core part of its review, the NPIA wants to equip all police officers and civilian staff in the UK with a single-user multi-application smart card that combines logical and physical security. With police increasingly accessing confidential data via mobile devices, in-car units and station-based PCs, a solution that allows access to systems from any location will also cut travels costs and reduce time spent on administrative tasks. What’s more, it would eliminate the IT and administrative costs incurred each time an officer forgets a username or password.
And with police facing constant demands to be a more visible presence on our streets, a single smart card will also help minimise downtime spent on paperwork, freeing up officers for frontline policing.
The cost of implementing and deploying a new, nationwide IAM system is understandably an important consideration, as with all areas of the civil service, where the taxpayer has a particular interest in how their money is spent. However, the potential benefits are compelling, for the taxpayer as well as the police.
At a time when the threats to our security are set to proliferate, smart card technology will be positioned at the vanguard of protecting officers and civilian staff, as well as safeguarding sensitive public data. And investing in an IT solution that not only saves public money but protects the public from crime is surely an investment worth making.