Artificial Intelligence

How tech can transform law enforcement

This will significantly increase the efficiency of our LEAs and, at the same time, drastically reduce the time taken to provide justice. It can be a win-win for all the key stakeholders

There is an urgent need for law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to adopt technology in their operations as it can act as a force multiplier. This is especially true in India where the police to population ratio is less than 150 per 100,000, whereas the United Nations recommends 222 police officials per 100,000 residents. But there are ways in which LEAs can use technology to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

Two, use it for crime detection. Technology can effectively help get a digital footprint of the criminal. Mobile forensics can be used to retrieve critical information such as contacts, photos, SMS, video, email, web browsing history, location information and social networking messages. Call Detail Records (CDR) contain information about calls made and received, cell tower location, International Mobile Equipment Identity — a unique identifier for each mobile phone, and International Mobile Subscriber Identity — a unique identifier for each SIM. Due to the high usage of mobile phones, it is difficult to analyses these records manually. CDR analysis tools can be used to identify call patterns, most frequently called numbers, geo-location, and help in tracking missing persons, lost mobiles, movement, and establish relationships between criminal associates.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to match fingerprints, facial images, analyses CCTV footage and recognize vehicle number plates. In order to detect false number plates, AI can also be used to recognize the make and model of the car and match it with the vehicle registered with that number plate. Big Data can be used to integrate data from multiple sources such as social media tools, financial institutions, travel records, hotel stays, CDRs and criminal records. This can help create a 360-degree view of the criminal and draw linkages between criminal associates.

Smartphone apps linked to centralized databases can provide the investigating officer real-time access to information on missing vehicles, missing people, dead/unidentified bodies and criminal records, thereby significantly reducing the time taken to investigate a crime.

Four, LEAs have often not fully appreciated the impact of technology for improving internal efficiency. While most police departments in India have an operational human resources management system in place, efforts need to be put in to mine the data more effectively. Analysis of educational qualifications, age, gender, religion, caste, training, posting, rank, and supervisor-to-employee ratio can be used to identify gaps in the organization.

These gaps can be addressed via hiring, training, postings thereby ensuring a more “balanced” and effective organization. Similarly, key performance indicators such as the time taken to file a charge-sheet, types of crimes solved, time taken to address complaints, citizen feedback scores can be used to determine an officer’s performance in a more objective manner.

And finally, real-time integration. The five pillars of the criminal justice system are police, courts, prosecution, jails and forensics. While efforts have been made to integrate data from these five pillars at the central level, a lot of work needs to be done to integrate these systems at the state level. Countless man-years are lost in taking physical files from one place to another. Real-time integration between the information technology systems of these pillars will help in reducing duplicate data entry and errors. This will significantly increase the efficiency of our LEAs and, at the same time, drastically reduce the time taken to provide justice. It can be a win-win for all the key stakeholders.