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How tech can transform law enforcement
Context: There is an urgent need for law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to adopt technology in their operations as it can act as a force multiplier. This is especially true in India where the police to population ratio is less than 150 per 100,000 (UN recommended number is 222)
Following are the ways in which LEAs can use technology to increase their efficiency and effectiveness:
- Digitising Citizen-Facing Services: By providing digital access to the police, citizens can avail services from the comfort of their home. For instance: The Punjab Police has a citizen-facing portal, Saanjh, which provides online services for downloading FIRS and searching for stolen vehicles and lost mobiles, among other services
- Departmental Monitoring: Technology can also be used to provide senior police officials dashboard views for their areas of jurisdiction, identify trends, patterns, outliers and take corrective action.
- Citizen Awareness: Digital portals, social media can be used by LEAs to reach out directly to citizens — providing information on traffic jams, how to protect against cybercrime, dispelling rumours, countering fake news.
- Crime Detection: Due to increasing usage of phones, it will difficult to analyse the records of Call Detail Records (CDRs) manually. CDR analysis tools can be used to identify call patterns, most frequently called numbers, geo-location, and help in tracking missing persons, lost mobiles, movement, and establish relationships between criminal associates.
- Leveraging AI and Big Data: Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to match fingerprints, facial images, analyse CCTV footage and recognise vehicle number plates. Big Data can be used to integrate data from multiple sources such as social media tools, financial institutions, travel records, hotel stays, CDRs and criminal records. This helps in creating 360-degree view of the criminal and draw linkages between criminal associates.
- Crime Prevention: Big Data can play a major role as it can be used to identify crime patterns and hot spots. AI can be used to draw correlations between the type of crime, time, location. Given the high number of postings and transfers in the police, these dashboards can help the newly transferred officer to get up to speed quickly.
- Riot Control: Sentiment analysis of social media chatter can be used to identify potential riots (including location and time) as well as track the source of rumours designed to create communal disharmony. Social media can also be used to provide authentic information to public to dispel rumours.
- Human Resource Management: Key performance indicators such as the time taken to file a charge-sheet, types of crimes solved, time taken to address complaints, citizen feedback scores can be used to determine an officer’s performance in a more objective manner.
- Integrating Criminal Justice System: The five pillars of the criminal justice system are police, courts, prosecution, jails and forensics. Countless man-years are lost in taking physical files from one place to another. Real-time integration between the information technology systems of these pillars will help in reducing duplicate data entry and errors.
Technology integration will significantly increase the efficiency of our LEAs and, at the same time, drastically reduce the time taken to provide justice. It can be a win-win for all the key stakeholders
Connecting the dots: