In this era of ICT, the rate of crime is increasing at a fast pace. It is a major concern of the police departments. The use of advanced technology has made the system of policing very modern and sophisticated. Science has always played an important role in investigating crimes and in improving contemporary policing. Advancements in technology have played a major role in shaping policing over the years. The agencies that are involved in law enforcement at every levels present in the government are involved in spending huge amount of money on the acquisition as well as development of technologies for the purpose of improving the level of effectiveness as well as efficiency of policing (Gilmour, 2014). Technology is said to strengthen the capability of the police force. It helps the police department to monitor and identify any offender, improve the speed of detecting and responding to crimes, enhance the method of collecting evidence, enhance communication between citizens and police and create organizational efficiencies (Bueermann, 2012). Technology is said to enhance legitimacy of police and increase the accountability of the police. This essay critically analyzes the impact of technologies on the contemporary policing. It describes the strengths as well as weaknesses of certain technologies that can be used in contemporary policing. It also discusses certain theories along with its usefulness and significance. This essay gives an overall review about the impact of certain technologies on policing.
Police face many complicated challenges with the advancement of technology. But the present policing makes maximum utilization of the technologies in order to prevent and mitigate criminal activities. The value of the technical tools has been recognized by the law enforcement agencies that are present across the world (Lynch, 2016). 3D scanning technologies play a significant role in scanning the whole crime scene by replacing many sketches as well as photographs. Radar technology makes the use of radio waves in order to detect movements that pass through the walls. This technology is used in the mitigation of dangers of entering the buildings that house the criminal activities. Police use radar technology for calculating the speed of a moving vehicle. Two signals are sent out by the radar. One signal determines the velocity of the cruiser and the other signal reads the closing speed. The closing speed is the combination of the sped of the target and cruiser. The patrol or cruiser speed is deducted from the closing speed to find out the target speed. Cameras can be fit to the outfits or uniforms of the police officers for the purpose of monitoring and detecting any criminal activity (Sandhu & Haggerty, 2017). One of the main technologies in policy is known as the predictive policing. It can be considered to be an advanced usage of the information technology for the purpose of predicting and preventing crimes. Most of the agencies are make the use of mapping software for the purpose of predicting any criminal activity that might occur in the near future. Cars can use cameras for recording video and detect any crime that occurs. Wireless video streaming is gaining importance. This technology can be used for sending video of a crime scene to the command or control center. LPRs or License plate readers can be used by the agencies for the purpose of scanning tags of a parked or passing vehicle. This helps to trigger alerts when a vehicle is said to be stolen or has violated parking rules. It also triggers alert if the vehicle is said to belong to some criminal or is said to be involved in any criminal activity (Gierlack et al., 2014). The scanning is done in an automatic manner. GPS technology or global positioning systems are used by agencies for the purpose of tracking the movements of the criminal suspects. GPS is a navigation tool (Davies & Bowers, 2014). GPS is said to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the aviation units of the police departments. GPS is used by the investigators in order to reach the correct crime scene at the right time. GPS system is responsible for providing an extra security level. It helps in tracking stolen vehicles and arresting the offenders. Some GPS devices that are present on the police vehicles have link with computer information regarding the “hot spots” of crimes. This helps in triggering alerts for reminding the officers that they need to invest more time in those hot spots. Social media also play a significant role in solving crimes. Social networking is facilitating the police officers to use new tools and avenues for solving crimes. Police can get help from the friends of the suspects over the social networking platform (Robinson, 2016). They can track the activities of the suspect in order to investigate the issue in a proper manner. Social media also helps the police force to gain an insight into the life and mentality of the suspects by observing the posts and statuses that are shared by the in the social networking site (Wall & Williams, 2013). It enables the police department to get clues by scrutinizing the friend list, posts, comments and likes of the suspect. Facebook has background investigators who can give detailed information regarding the suspect to the police department. Professionals can share techniques as well as tactics from their colleagues who are across the country by using professional networking websites like LinkedIn. CCTV or closed circuit television is facilitating the police to identify criminals by seeing the CCTV footage (Newburn & Hayman, 2012). It helps in the prevention of crimes. It also helps to solve the crimes in a quick and effective manner. The CCTV footage can be evidence in case of a criminal activity. Surveillance cameras can catch thieves before or at the time of committing a criminal offense (Kalhan, 2013). These cameras play a significant role in protecting the public from any attack. The zoom feature that is present in the camera can help to identify the face of the criminal. Wireless technologies play a significant role in enhancing contemporary policing. Mobile technology can be utilized by the police for enhancing the speed of communication among each other (Carter & Grommon, 2015). Gunshot detection systems are used by the police in order to detect any gunfire incident and get to know the exact location where this incident took place. It is responsible for reducing the response time of the police. It helps in increasing the probability or likelihood that the police will come to the exact location where the gunfire incident took place. The probability of catching the criminals who fires the gun in an urban area increases at a fast pace. This technology has helped to decrease any type of gun violence and save more number of gunshot victims. It has helped in improving the relationship of the police and the citizens.
These technologies that are used in the contemporary policing have several strengths as well as challenges. According to Koper, Lum and Willis (2014), policing has benefitted from the use of technologies but at the same time there are certain challenges and limitations. Radar technology has the ability to see through fog, darkness and clouds as well and it can detect the position, location and velocity of the target. It has certain weaknesses like it does not have the capability to recognize the color of the target and cannot see if the target if it is behind conducting sheets (PERF , 2012).The strengths of the CCTV technology are that it can zoom and identify the criminals; it can resist interference and is a secure technology. It is easy to upgrade and maintain the software of IP cameras. Certain weaknesses of CCTV surveillance are that the quality of the video is not so clear and good when it is captured at night. There are chances of delay and implementing these cameras requires a lot of planning as well as knowledge. GPS plays an effective role in locating criminals but it has certain challenges as well. Sometimes it is unable to give the correct direction because the names of the road change in a quick manner. This inaccuracy can lead to a lot of trouble. If there is no network in the device then the GPS technology is unable to give proper guidance to the user. The license plate readers can affect the privacy of the people. It also requires huge storage space. There have been ethical dilemmas regarding the usage of CCTV surveillance because people think that it is getting into their privacy level. A major weakness or challenge in the study of gun violence is that it has a very low reporting rate (Custers, 2012). There are other challenges of implementing these technologies in a correct way so that the effective outcome can be achieved. According to Koper, Lum and Willis (2014), the use of advanced technologies does not always lead to improvement in the process of communication, productivity, cooperation and job satisfaction. It is not necessary that advanced technologies will always be effective in the process of reducing crimes. One of the main issues is the complexities that are associated with the change in technology. There are cultural and organizational resistances towards this change. Police have often seemed to fail to make proper utilization of the advanced technology in a strategic manner. According to Lewis and Lewis (2012), web tools for preventing crimes can be developed by using the crime prevention theory. There are two crime prevention theories that help to understand and cause of crime and helps in its prevention. According to the victimization theory, an offender or a victim can assess the chance or risk of being caught or victimized respectively. Police have developed internal technological solutions that can be used for the purpose of reducing crimes. The social control theory tries to understand communities as a whole rather than focusing on a particular individual. According to this theory the moral values and principles that are present in a society help to determine the criminal behavior of the community. If a person belongs to a highly ethical society then the chances for him/her to commit any crime will be low. Social norms that are communicated by using technology have the ability to affect the relations that are within the communities. There has not been much evidence regarding this fact. Koper, Lum and Willis (2014) had conducted interviews to find out the challenges of technology in contemporary policing. It was found out that information technology played an important role in assisting the officers in traditional enforcement activities but did not assist much in the proactive and strategic tasks. Police are not given training on using the technologies in a strategic manner. Imparting proper training to the officers about using technologies in a strategic manner would be helpful for enhancing the policing. There have been marginal improvement in crime detection but using technologies were not enough for improving the performance of the police. The technological limitations can be overcome by managing the other organizational reforms as well. Proper strategy must be taken in order to consider ways by which the existing and new technologies can be deployed (Crawford & Evans, 2017). The police managers can participate in the implementation process of the technology which will provide huge opportunities for testing the early versions of the technology. Proper training must be given to the officers for using the technology in an efficient manner.
This essay concluded that advanced technologies have played a significant role in enhancing contemporary policing. The agencies that are involved in law enforcement at every levels present in the government are involved in spending huge amount of money on the acquisition as well as development of technologies for the purpose of improving the level of effectiveness as well as efficiency of policing. This essay gave an overview of certain technologies like radar technology, CCTV, gunshot detection system and license reader scanner. It also spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of these technologies. This essay gave a brief idea about the crime prevention theories. This essay concluded that proper training must be given to the police officers for the purpose of detecting and preventing crimes by efficiently using the advanced technologies.
Bueermann, J. (2012). Being smart on crime with evidence-based policing. NIJ Journal, 269, 12-15.
Carter, J. G., & Grommon, E. (2015). Officer perceptions of the impact of mobile broadband technology on police operations. Policing and Society, 1-18.
Crawford, A., & Evans, K. (2017). Crime prevention and community safety (pp. 797-824). Oxford University Press.
Custers, B. (2012). Technology in policing: Experiences, obstacles and police needs. Computer Law & Security Review, 28(1), 62-68.
Davies, T., & Bowers, K. (2014). Quantifying the deterrent effect of police patrol via GPS analysis. GIS Research UK.
Gierlack, K., Williams, S., LaTourrette, T., & Anderson, J. M. (2014). License plate readers for law enforcement: Opportunities and obstacles. Rand Corporation.
Gilmour, S. (2014). Policing crime and terrorism in cyberspace: An overview. European Review of Organised Crime, 1(1), 143-159.
Kalhan, A. (2013). Immigration policing and federalism through the lens of technology, surveillance, and privacy.
Koper, C. S., Lum, C., & Willis, J. J. (2014). Optimizing the use of technology in policing: Results and implications from a multi-site study of the social, organizational, and behavioural aspects of implementing police technologies. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 8(2), 212-221.
Lewis, S., & Lewis, D. A. (2012, May). Examining technology that supports community policing. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1371-1380). ACM.
Lynch, M. D. (2016). Police Technology. The Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment.
Newburn, T., & Hayman, S. (2012). Policing, surveillance and social control. Routledge.
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). (2012). How Are Innovations in Technology Transforming Policing?.
Robinson, B. K. (2016). Technology at Work: Attitudes Toward Law Enforcement in “Social” Media. In Law Enforcement and Technology (pp. 63-77). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Sandhu, A., & Haggerty, K. D. (2017). Policing on camera. Theoretical Criminology, 21(1), 78-95.
Wall, D. S., & Williams, M. L. (2013). Policing cybercrime: networked and social media technologies and the challenges for policing.