As the methods and tools continue to evolve, it will bring more insight and safety into policing.
Technology and law enforcement have been closely interconnected since time immemorial. The advent of multi-channel radios, massive database storage, and the latest automobiles in policing are examples of how both work hand in hand. As technology advances and leaves imprints, processes become efficient.
According to statistics, in 2020, one-third of law enforcement agencies are working on implementing body-worn cameras, geographic information system technology, cell phone tracking system, and workplace management software. And the use of technology is expected to increase sharply in the future. Technology is becoming central for carrying out basic policing activities. Law enforcement is witnessing the benefits of digital transformation, and it is having a positive impact on society.
In this article, let’s look at five technological advancements emerging in law enforcement and see how they impact policing activities.
- The rise of IoT
When information relies solely on human memory, it often loses accuracy and becomes prone to errors. The rise of IoT helps to solve this problem to a great extent. Law enforcement implements a myriad of IoT devices with varying capabilities. These devices collect and relay accurate data to assist investigations. Some of the IoT devices that will become inevitable in the coming years are:
- Drones: Drones help surveillance by giving a bird’s eye view of areas making it easy for officers to cover large scenes in a short time.
- Body-worn cameras: BWC helps police in collecting video evidence of interactions with people.
- License plate readers: Small, high-speed cameras used to photograph license plates help identify vehicles when needed.
- Wearable tech: Wearable tech such as smartwatches keep officers connected at all times and can help in discrete communication.
- 5G connectivity
With 5G connectivity, data can be transmitted at 10 Gbps compared to 100 Mbps in 4g networks. When 5G is implemented, officers will be able to access information from the department database wirelessly even when they are on the field. This instant access will be hugely beneficial in communicating critical information related to missions.
It will also help the documentation of missions, such as preparing reports with audio, photos, and video. The advent of 5G will completely eliminate buffering. It will increase officers’ efficiency by transforming their mobile devices to computer hubs enhancing accessibility and convenience.
- Arrival of artificial intelligence and machine learning
When a massive amount of data is generated, its analysis also becomes challenging. Having humans to perform them will result in inefficiency and errors. This can be solved by implementing AI and ML. By deploying these technologies, sifting through large data becomes easy, and finding patterns or critical links becomes possible.
AI is also used in several other ways, such as facial recognition, scanning footages, biometrics, etc. It is the most efficient approach for spotting patterns or leads. By leveraging mountains of data and analyzing them, AI can gather hidden insights and uncover critical linkages very fast.
- Implementation of law enforcement software
The limitations of managing the workforce manually is becoming evident with time. To levy the best out of limited resources, workforce management software can help tremendously. Some ways in which law enforcement software can be utilized are:
- Plan schedules in advance, like daily operations, shift changes, meeting staffing requirements
- Automate timesheets by digitizing all information about employee data, pay scale, work hours, etc. to ensure better timekeeping
- Using advanced overtime reporting to manage and reduce overtimes
- Integrating all information about regular and extra duties at one place to ensure better time and resource management
Workforce management software automates a lot of daily tasks. Thus, it helps to reduce overtime, organize day-to-day operations, and increase the overall accuracy and efficiency of law enforcement.
- Allying with virtual reality
Virtual reality is revolutionizing law enforcement training. By simulating real-life situations utilizing goggles and headsets, the virtual reality police training is gaining efficiency.
Virtual reality can be used to mimic situations like robbery, crime scenes, etc., and train officers to handle such situations. It is a very effective method that improves the cognitive response of officers and also provides a realistic experience for future service times.
Virtual reality methods can also be used to train officers for providing medical assistance. This can actually help to create a good connection between police and community, especially in the light of the recent defunding the police movement and the hostility being developed towards officers.
The realism and flexibility of VR training make it the best training law enforcement trainees can get.
The Future of Policing
The technological advancements in law enforcement in recent years have changed many methods and tools in policing. And the future would witness more significant changes. As the methods and tools continue to evolve, it will bring more insight and safety into policing. By utilizing the innovations and using them to drive the future, law enforcement will transform into a more effective and efficient approach. While it helps officers better manage their duty, it will also be beneficial for the general public to enhance their safety.