Hunan was a great opportunity for London Policing College to build new and deeper relationships with the Police in China. It was warm and sunny and after the bitter cold of Beijing this was fantastic. The provincial capital, Changsha, a city about the size of London in terms of population but growing at an incredible rate was a mixture of industry and commerce which was very proud of being at the heart of reform in China. As with all the interactions we have had, the people were very welcoming, warm and keen to exchange ideas and challenge preconceptions.
My visit was to give a series of lectures at what turned out to be a conference for all OCU Commanders (about 220 each with staff of over 500) from across the province for two days with 3 separate 3 hour slots. The Director General for community police was present throughout and asked many questions. The group was extended with some students from the Training academy who came to the first session (about 100). The training academy is the Police University for Hunan and has about 6,000 students on undergraduate course in policing about half of whom are already selected for the police and the other half are completing the course hoping to either apply at the end of it or who will go into another career. All recruits must graduate with a degree/diploma to be accepted and there is a high value placed on education and learning. The conference was very professional with a formal leaflet about the aims and objectives (presented on glossy card) and very good facilities. The academy was vast, bigger than the old Hendon and all the old NPIA sites put together and with a range of facilities for Firearms and driver training, education facilities, sports grounds and many large halls.
I was also shown the extremely high tech control room which was impressive. This connected intelligence, analysis, calls form the public, crime reports, media monitoring and CCTV data into one Big Data centre. This was then used to support officers by constant tasking them to the locations and activities expected to reduce crime. I only saw some of it in action and which was impressive; especially the way using a large display they could identify officers (foot and car), CCTV systems and those people they expected to be committing crime in a location and then get the computer to tell the officers where they should go. They are just adding drones to it so it was really like some futuristic world.
Hunan was a great new model of cooperation for us as it opens possibilities of working with the 36 training Academies as well as continuing with the study tour and other consultancy we have already delivered. We are now working closely with the International lead within the Training Academy and the International Cooperation Department to see what opportunities exist for further joint working.