There was a time when a police officer would be armed with nothing more than a truncheon, whistle and a familiar patch to walk. Police forces around the world must adapt to the changes in society and the biggest change in recent years is the huge increase in people carrying out almost all their activities online. It has been reported that the police must recruit a further 12,000 IT experts to effectively fight the fact that almost half of all crime now is online.
The Reform think tank has revealed that surveyed police officers are scared by digital crime as they feel they lack the skills to deal with it. The most significant risk to society nowadays is becoming a victim of fraud, of which you are 20 times more likely to be a victim of than robbery. UK businesses alone reported losses of £144 billion annually to digital crime.
The think tank has suggested government ministers must invest hundreds of millions to meet the growing need for technological education amongst officers. Many forces are adopting more tech equipment for their officers to help reflect the way society is changing. Equipment such as smartphones, augmented reality glasses for capturing evidence and having each officer wear a body worn camera. For more information, visit https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/
Many people are now realising that police officers need the skills and equipment to allow them to patrol an online beat. Keeping citizens safe no longer means protection from just physical threats but now involves keeping us safe from cybercrime as well.
As well as online fraud, force statistics have revealed a steep rise in the number of online harassment and stalking cases between 2016 and 2017. The idea has been put forward for a Digital Academy to be established which would train specialist officers in the latest methods for fighting cybercrime. The hope is to create a flexible, highly capable force that can adapt to the changing nature of 21st century crime.
One futuristic sounding piece of technology that has already been used successfully in the UK this year is biometric technology such as facial recognition. Thanks to high-resolution cameras becoming cheaper and great advances in matching technology, facial recognition can become a part of digital policing. It has been used in casinos before and can now be used to identify anyone has been banned from a football stadium, for example. Border control can employ the technology to seek out those wanted for terrorist activities.
In a current climate of budget-cutting and tightening our public service belts, if the police can use technology to free up man hours this has got to be a positive step. For example, when officers were provided with mobile data devices, they were able to take witness statements there and then without having to return to the station. This freed up thousands of hours, the equivalent of putting an additional 100 officers on the beat. Helping the police and technology to work hand-in-hand will be more efficient without placing extra strain on budgets.