N Touch
Thursday 13 December 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Using technology in the crime fight

THE EDITOR: Over the past years, policing agencies worldwide have implemented an array of technological advancements to improve operational efficiency and outcomes, especially in times of environmental changes, challenges in crime-fighting and the introduction of system integration processes in the national landscape.

Additionally, the enhanced public attention on and scrutiny of law enforcement activity has also demanded a more technologically-driven approach to policing.

As a result TT needs to increase the prevalence and utility of technology among the country’s law enforcement agencies. Inclusive of this new dynamic is to professionally examine, review and assess the factors that influence its selection and implementation. Working smart is the key.

Therefore to address these issues, the TTPS would need to build the knowledge base, through law enforcement-led research and development, of why and how police select, implement, and integrate new technology; how that technology is being used; and whether new technology improves policing in a meaningful way, to impact positively, both the agency and the community as a whole.

The tendency to purchase technology without a clear, strategic plan can result in limited integration within the TTPS and a failure to recognise the primary or secondary benefits of the technology. These factors can lead to disillusionment and a lack of continuation funding for maintaining or updating particular types of technology.

It is strongly advised that the TTPS explores the introduction of technologically driven records management systems (RMS) and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems.

The RMS/CAD technology is credited with having the greatest impact on police agencies worldwide. It is central for carrying out the most fundamental professional policing activities, responding to calls for service and information management. This technology is also crucial for generating the data that other activities and technology applications rely on, such as GIS, hot-spot policing, and other location-based activities.

Because of its highly flexible nature, GIS was reported to have the greatest impact on identifying and analysing crime and disorder problems. Social media and data mining were both considered to successfully impact any law enforcement agency’s ability to generate intelligence from the community (intelligence-based policing).

The RMS/CAD approach has aided agencies in identifying and tracking officer conduct as a key activity, by the use of body-worn cams, integrated critically with the use of car-mounted cameras.

The intention of the present leadership of the TTPS to introduce a technology-driven policing approach is a step in the right direction, and an alliance with international best practices that standardises the TTPS amongst our international counterparts.

This new approach and intent can produce various positive outcomes relative to improvements in policing practices and the establishment of trust and legitimacy with national communities.

CDR GARVIN HEERAH via e-mail

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