12 October, 2018
8:00 am - 11:40 am

The world of 2027 – and how to police it

On Friday 12 October 2018, Reform hosted its “The world of 2027 – and how to police it” conference, kindly sponsored by BT. The conference focused on how the needs – and crime - of British society were going to change over the next decade and what steps British police forces need to take to prepare for it. With one eye to the 2019 Spending Review, and another to the growing demands and shrinking resources of the British police, this conference brought together policy makers, frontline operators, public and private providers, civil servants, academics, and third sector organisations to discuss the future of policing in the UK.

Conference agenda

08.30 – 08.55   Registration and breakfast

08.55 – 09.00   Welcome and introduction

09.00 – 10.30   Panel one: Deciphering the world of 2027 from today

This panel presented ideas and trends that encapsulate the social and technological changes that are likely to lead to the world of 2027. Expert speakers described their pioneering work today, and make some predictions of the path of change to 2027. Speakers included:

  • Gail Kent, Global Policy Lead on Law and Enforcement and Surveillance, Facebook
  • Niamh McKenna, Managing Director, Health, Accenture
  • Paul O’Brien, Director, Service, Security and Operations Research, BT
  • Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research, Ipsos MORI

The first panel focused on what the world of 2027 will look like and what the primary challenges would be in society. The discussion revolved around the increasingly prominent role of data and technology in many facets of daily life, and particularly how these themes affect interactions between individuals, businesses, and the state. All four panellists agreed that the realities of increased data collection, access, and sharing – including social trust and the extent of regulation – were important hurdles to overcome. Gideon Skinner emphasised how research reveals that younger generations are increasingly less attached to public institutions than their predecessors and do not view the state as being able to effectively deal with online issues, particularly cybercrime. Gail Kent believed that as technology continues to expand there would be an integration of the online and offline. This integration would be accompanied by an increased concern for financial and psychological safety throughout society, requiring quick and responsive legal changes to meet these demands. Paul O’Brien highlighted the need for pragmatism in responding to new technological developments, particularly around AI, and suggested that whilst a proliferation of low-cost sensors could increase data landscapes, they would also increase the need for a measured approach to data integration. Niamh McKenna shifted the focus to the future of healthcare and suggested that a transition to prevention rather than treatment could fundamentally alter the relationship between patients and clinicians, yet potentially worsen the health divide for socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the UK.

Watch the Opening Remarks from Andrew Haldenby and Panel one discussion below:

10.30 – 11.00    Coffee break and refreshments

11.00 – 12.30    Panel two: Policing the world of 2027

This panel debated the future of policing in this new world. As in the first panel, pioneering speakers described their current experience and look forward to the challenges of the near future. Speakers included:

  • Lynne Owens CBE QPM, Director General, National Crime Agency
  • Commander Karen Baxter, National Coordinator for Economic Crime, City of London Police
  • Rachel Tuffin OBE, Director of Knowledge, Research and Education, College of Policing
  • David Darch, Head of Client Service, Policing, BT

Whilst the first panel laid out what challenges the society of 2027 would face, the second panel explored how to ensure that police would be prepared and able to meet them. All panellists concurred that integrated and longer-term approaches in structure, funding, skills, and policy were needed for forces to be able to effectively police the world of 2027. Lynne Owens suggested that an increase in the proportion of vulnerable elderly citizens, alongside cybercrime and hostile state actors would be the largest problems facing police. She proposed that a greater non-geographic partnership with core specialists across all public service areas would be needed to ensure these demands did not increase the reactionary role of frontline police. Karen Baxter added that in a future where loneliness would be a key issue, questions needed to be asked about the social value of policing, as well as how the changing nature of crime in a cashless society would demand different responses. Rachel Tuffin proposed that these changes in police activities could be best met by more effectively unlocking the benefits within data to create an ongoing learning and improvement policing culture, perhaps in collaboration with other organisations looking at these issues. David Darch emphasised the benefits of industry and public service cooperation in improving the abilities of police to tackle new types of crimes.

Watch the Panel two discussion below:

12.30 – 12.40    Closing remarks

This conference was kindly supported by BT:

The world of 2027 and how to police it

The world of 2027 and how to police it