An international operation, co-ordinated by INTERPOL and involving police, customs and drug regulatory authorities across East Africa has resulted in the seizure of at least 10 tons of counterfeit and illicit medical products and more than 80 arrests. This was part of a continued operation aiming to curb the increasing problem of the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit medical products in this region.
As reported on the INTERPOL website, Aline Plancon, head of INTERPOL’s Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) highlights the need for better collaboration between organisations and the effective management of investigations and information in the fight against this crime, she recommends ‘the development of a more systematic exchange of information to pool expertise, experience, resources, intelligence and technical support’.
There is an interesting outcome of the current financial crisis hitting the police service and that is the area of IT standardisation. I have had many recent discussions where individuals feel that ‘buying the same systems’ enables collaboration and reduces costs. This approach risks the Service wandering blindly in to the procurement of inefficient systems just to meet the tick in the box and goes nowhere in sharing information on a collaborative basis.
On commencing the national Intelligence Database project in Scotland in 2001, the largest and most immediate piece of work which had to be conducted was to look at the myriad of intelligence handling processes which were going on within individual forces and working together to rationalise these in to a single and agreed model for intelligence management. The National Rules and Conventions were the outcome and yet the true work was to simplify and make as efficient as possible the process of intelligence management. This in itself without the IT system to back it up was a major step forward in reducing costs in processing.
The result of this process was to allow the procurement of one central system for intelligence, rather than all eight forces buying the same system. It was from this that the Service managed to save millions of pounds over the future years.
What seems to be missing from the current approach is the review of process. Buying five of the same within a region may save some cost savings through bulk buying, but one thing you can guarantee is that the current approach will lead to the same system being used in five different ways.
Regions need to wake up and start to review their processes on a collaborative basis as the first step along the road, prior to any discussion about buying the same system.
The latest British Crime Survey reveals that crime in England and Wales is at its lowest levels since 1981; but how long can this downward trend in crime last with talk of ‘budget cuts threatening 60,000 police jobs’? According to former Gloucestershire Chief Constable Tim Brain this is the number of police officer, civillian staff and community support officer posts that could be axed by 2015. Reducing bureaucracy and police collaboration/ regionalisation may allow more to be done with less to a certain extent but surely no-one can expect current levels of front-line policing to be maintained if this worst case scenario is realised.
At the recent Loss Prevention Summit in Reigate it was agreed that collaboration between differing departments was key in tackling the £4 billion shrink issue the retail industry has… “collaboration is the new buzzword”
It will be interesting to see if this buzzword can be made a reality in the LP world…Disjointed and expensive to change corporate systems, that support differing departments, may temper ambitions…watch this space I guess.