Recognition for the NPIA’s ‘innovative’ online information-sharing community

POLKA – the Police Online Knowledge Area – has been named runner-up in the Digital Innovation category at the Guardian Public Services Awards 2012.

Dec 13, 2012
By Paul Jacques

POLKA – the Police Online Knowledge Area – has been named runner-up in the Digital Innovation category at the Guardian Public Services Awards 2012.

Developed and maintained by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), POLKA was launched in 2009 and now has 47,000 members from across the police service.

Its primary role is to facilitate communication, discussion and information-sharing between police forces around the UK and their central support agencies, within a technically secure environment.

POLKA is founded on social media and Web 2.0 principles and breaks down the physical geographical boundaries within policing. It provides the opportunity for police officers and staff throughout the country to share what works locally – the establishment of communities of practice and interest on POLKA enables groups of individuals to exchange experiences and ask questions of their peers at any time.

The NPIA’s online collaboration manager, Kate Grady, said: “Using POLKA allows geographic barriers and silos to be broken down and the conditional boundaries of rank and file within policing to be crossed in an open and transparent manner – a really important factor as criminals often know no boundaries.”

Despite some early challenges, largely due to concerns about the security of information in a traditionally risk-averse service, Ms Grady says POLKA is now a day-to-day part of police work.

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