As a national lead there is always a wrestle between force priorities and supporting the work of your portfolio.

But nothing more than a small step back is needed to see how a nationally-coordinated approach to key areas of policing ultimately helps deliver benefits to all the communities we exist to protect.

Local accountability will always be crucial, but that doesn’t have to come at the price of working in isolation.

I am fortunate that when it comes to this programme there is an extraordinary team of driven individuals, skilfully led by Jo, that share a deep-rooted passion to enhance an area of business they care so much about – an area that is sometimes underestimated for the role it plays in policing.

Forensics underpins nearly all our investigative activity, supporting convictions of all crime. And whilst the scales of balance increasingly tip towards digital forensics, traditional methods remain important, as does the need to remain at pace with their advancements.

That is why it is so encouraging to see the development and pending roll-out of the fingerprint enhancements, delivered with the help and support of experts in every region.

Where the scales do now tip in favour of the relentless growth in digital we must not, and do not, bury our heads in the sand. But we can only effectively deliver a sustainable solution if we first know the true scale of the challenge.

I’m encouraged by the work underway with Staffordshire University through the programme’s Digital Forensics project to understand the challenge. This will not only support a compelling business case for effective future reform but is orchestrating, co-ordinating and supporting the here and now.

With all this work supported by a clear structure for the developing Forensic Capability Network (FCN), as detailed below, headway is clearly being made to deliver a functional and reliable initial capability this time next year.

Questions will remain on how certain parts of the FCN will function, I still have some myself, but the developing FCN prospectus being released in the coming months will go a long way to outlining the practicalities of how things will work in reality.