Using technology to meet crime

23 August 2017

When I was asked to write this, I asked a few of my colleagues about it. We were all of the same opinion… “Where do we start?” It’s such a complex issue that 400 words just doesn’t do justice!

Two large issues that we’ve got in policing when it comes to demand are budget cuts and shifting demands. We’ve had to do more with less for quite some time now, it’s no secret and it doesn’t need explaining much. But it’s also become easier to report crime to police, whether at the station, online, email, phone, text, twitter.

We’re perhaps more accessible than ever… just in a different way.

This year has seen the significant roll-out of body-worn video in London. For me and my colleagues, as frontline officers, it’s helping to capture and streamline evidence as well as display, with greater transparency, the service we deliver. We are also starting to receive additional mobile devices for everyday administration too, meaning we can be out of stations and working quicker to our serve communities. These are clear, positive steps towards meeting our ever-growing demand, in my opinion.

Demand rarely stays the same for long. With the emergence of technology, in particular social media, cyber-enabled crime has grown. The knock-on effect is that it enables and facilitates offences, many of which are not going to be detected by cops on the street. From bullying and harassment to modern-world terrorism. We clearly need to be able to tackle such emerging threats and it’s going to be as much about the technology we utilise as it will be about the specially trained staff to investigate these crimes.

I am excited about the future of police technology. It’s my view that key to our success in meeting demand will be in the inter-operability of our police systems and the way that we share information across internal departments, neighbouring forces and external partners. If everyone was to agree to a single overarching model, the cost of it could be evenly spread too. This can only serve to make us more efficient at detecting crime and meeting the level and pace of demand we are faced with.

Chris Excell is Acting Police Sergeant, Emergency Response Team, Lambeth (Brixton Police Station). Chris tweets at @ConstableXL

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