The increase in technology, in recent decades, has helped to change the nature of crimes in the modern world. Traditional crimes such as burglary, street violence and theft have decreased, and others, such as cyber-crime and fraud, have become more frequent. The police have had to adapt to the way they investigate these cases, using technology to employ methods that make crime solving quicker, and more efficient. Although already a part of the modern police force, many of these are expected to become more extensively used in the future, and include:
Online Crime Reporting
It is possible for videos and photos to be submitted online instantly to the police. The collection of footage physically has become outdated, as it is less efficient and more time consuming. The police believe that reporting all aspects of a crime online, especially by businesses, would facilitate immediate investigation and improve the efficiency of the wider criminal justice system.
The same technology could be employed to allow live streaming of CCTV footage into monitoring stations. This would allow officers to observe crimes as they are happening, and make it easier for them to catch the criminals. This would also save the government millions each year in false alarms, as verification could be done offsite instead of sending a team to the location.
These procedures would also increase the officers’ safety, as they would be aware of the situation before entering a crime scene. The police have been urged to recommend the installation of high quality CCTV, with live streaming, to both businesses and individuals as a precautionary method.
Digitalising Security and Identity
With identity theft becoming one of the most prevalent criminal activities, it has become important for the police force to try to prevent it from happening in the first place. The cooperation of citizens is essential to its success, and could include:
- People without passports should have digitalised copies of their driver’s license, to help prove their identity both online and in person.
- Proof of age on smart phones would decrease the need to walk around with a physical means of identification.
- Digital identities should be listed to increase safety when meeting someone online. Third party attributes, such as a criminal record, could be linked to these to help identify fraudsters and those with illegal intentions.
- Age verification when using the internet to prevent underage access to adult content and purchasing certain goods online.
Many UK police forces are already using electronic notebooks which can give information about criminals, as well as what happens during the officers’ shifts. The system stores information received during police interviews, names and witness statements, as well as a criminal database. The use of the electronic notebooks also shows where police are least efficient, such as the large amount of time spent in hospitals with those who have been injured. This information has resulted in the NHS fast tracking cases where officers are present, to facilitate their return to other duties as quickly as possible.