Thursday, 1 February 2018

Smarter Security Safer Society

Flickr: Tm/CC 2.0
What defines smarter policing? An evidence-based, 
technologically and data-driven law enforcement tactics and strategies that are effective, efficient, and economical. Security is enhanced and justice is served. That is the essence of this post: Smarter policing.
Smart Policing
When a detective suspects someone of murder because of the DNA found on the murder weapon besides other clues, he trails the suspect to his favorite eatery, engages him in  jovial babbling, offers to buy the suspect a bottle of coke which he accepts and consumes with gratitude. 

When the suspect leaves, the detective carefully swipes the mouth of the bottle with a cotton wool, secures it in an evidence bag. The detective runs DNA analysis on the sample and compares it with the DNA sample found on the murder weapon and voila...- there's a match!

Next, the detective obtains a warrant and takes a few of his colleagues to pay our 'suspect friend' a visit...armed with solid-air-tight forensic evidence that can put the suspect in prison for life. That, friend,  is smart police work.

Smarter Policing
There are many crimes that have been committed but  remains a mystery. No clues. Every lead is a dead end and the investigators stop active enquiries into it for long periods of time. Such cases are often referred to as 'cold cases'. 

Assume these cold cases are serial murders, then a potential serial murderer is living among us. It is painful to lose a loved one to murder. It is even more painful to not know the perpetrator as the questions of 'who and why' lingers without answers.

In addition, If evidential materials from those crime scenes such as DNA samples were recovered, processed and kept in a database such as a 'National DNA Crime Database'; don't you think our detective should be able to cross-reference the DNA of the above mentioned suspect to see if there would be a match? Several cold cases spanning decades have been solved using the DNA forensics approach. That, is smarter police work.

Forensic intelligence
Utilizing digital databases of various forms of criminal records  has made it possible that with just a hit on a button, DNA samples from crime scenes and suspects can be used to link suspects to other unsolved homicide cases which can unveil serial killers. Catch them and save potential victims.

Smarter police work is no magic. Crimes scenes are goldmines of criminal data with possible answers to the what, how and why of a crime. With the availability of credible crime data, it is easier for law enforcement agents to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively.

The plus of having a functional crime database is that it builds a system that supports objectivity and integrity within the investigative process which will be hard to manipulate by selfish interests.

This can only achieved by adopting an approach that involves gathering and processing of forensic case data from multiple sources and  implementing a multi-agency collaboration (such as the police, civil defence, NDLEA, EFCC, SS and armed forces) with emphasis on sharing useful information for the common cause. 

Times have changed. The sophistication in crime commission is increasing. Timely and  accurate intervention is needed by our law enforcement agencies if the war on crime is to be won.

In modern times, drones are replacing foot soldiers on the battle fields. Governments are investing in counter cyber terrorism commands to combat online crimes. The Dutch police are beginning to employ live on-site assessment and solutions by forensic and crime experts on crime scenes through an approach called Augmented Reality. 

Recently, the World Economic Forum showcased a project called the Known Travellers Digital Identity Infrastructure which is more like a 'global security digital ID' that can enhance cross borders security among travellers.

 This project is leveraging on technology that harnesses some of the world's top industry organizations in aviation, justice, Interpol, hotels and even Google. When this is deployed, it will enhance the "resilience of transportation systems to external shocks such as terrorism, cyberattacks and accidents". [Full Report]

Some local police commands have switched to fighting crime using GIS technologies by mapping 'hot zones', extracting relevant crime statistics of immediate communities e.t.c. GIS technology has great potentials to enhance security and reduce crime in our cities.

The Nigerian Police is now stepping up its security operations through its private-partner nonpartisan company  called the Nigerian Police Broadcasting Service (NPBS). This service will deploy an enviable array of solutions through technological communication systems that includes 'Digital TV, FM Radio and Online Broadcast Stations and our security-focused 24/7 web presence and Citizens Reporting Portal'.

 The NPBS is also deploying a “smart” National Police Emergency Command' that for effective coordination between the police and the public. It is expected that the security challenges across the country should certainly be put in check.

It is all about improving the service delivery of our law enforcement agencies by harnessing interagency trust and collaboration with technology as the medium.   This would increase the efficiency of time and resources. Compared with the conventional approach to policing, the use of technology and forensics is smarter. The smarter, the better. When security is better, society would be safer.