November 5th 2018
As the proliferation of communications technology has increased, the modern police force is faced with the challenge of processing and safeguarding enormous quantities of data, all held in disparate databases.
Not only are suspect names, addresses, occupations, and crime details held within these systems, but larger multimedia files such as in-vehicle and body-worn video, CCTV and mobile telephony are increasingly becoming an essential part of court case administration.
Leveraging modern technology has the potential to optimise the effectiveness, efficiency and fairness of the criminal justice system. Strategies such as predictive crime mapping allow the police to use information including crime type, location and time, to identify crime hotspots. Delivering the right information at the right time to the relevant police officer brings with it the chance to revolutionise case handling and, importantly, consistent recording practices for police forces throughout the UK – including the mission-critical decision-making process of Command and Control Officers - would facilitate comprehensive event reconstruction and auditing.
However, in order to take advantage of these benefits, the police require technology capable of handling these enormous amounts of data – and this must be implemented fast! There has been a recent spike in the general population’s technological ability, and with it, criminal sophistication. At a recent Justice and Emergency Services event, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick CBE QPM expressed her determination that the Met Police’s ability to tackle crime should not be threatened by increasingly tech-savvy criminals, emphasising that technology should provide more of a strategic advantage for law enforcement than for the criminally-minded.
In order to promote this ideal, the traditionally independent Met is shifting its stance towards boosting technological collaboration with other law enforcement bodies. By setting out a vision for a 21st century police force, Commissioner Dick opened up the possibility of a national law enforcement and judiciary that uses a single, easily manageable database, streamlining administrative work and allowing a more granular insight into where police resource should be concentrated. Ultimately, integrating disparate databases promotes far greater harmony between policing regions and makes it harder for criminals to evade justice.