EVALUATING SMART POLICING IN INDIA: GLITCHES AND PROPOSED REFORMS
* Shreya Chauhan* |
Effective and efficient law enforcement is the primary sign of good governance. Being the key law enforcement agency, police must be more dynamic and adaptive to the changing disposition of society. In India with the advent of technology and the internet, it has become expedient to bring reforms in technical areas of police administration. To improve operational efficiency and outcomes in times of diminished resources, smart policing is one such initiative involving evidence-constructed, data-driven law enforcement manoeuvres and strategies that are effective, smart, economical as well as efficient. The word ‘SMART’ police force holds for Modern and Mobile, Strict and Sensitive, Techno-Savvy and Trained, Reliable and responsive, Alert and Accountable police force as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing 49th Annual Conference of Director General of Police. For achieving this, a lot of information and technological advancements are necessary. Due to lack of adequate and proper training and techniques as well as poorly integrated information system it has become problematical for the police force in India to apply technology for law enforcement procedure. This article talks about reforms in implementing information communication technology for law enforcement procedures for rapid response to crimes.
TECHNOLOGY AS A MECHANISM OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
Astonishing new technologies are renovating the ways police serve, allowing police agencies to counteract criminal activities more effectively and solve crimes more promptly. In India, the ratio of a police officer to an Indian citizen is 1 to 720. Hence technology is essential for today’s world for law enforcement and crime prevention as it also counterweighs for the poor population to police ration.
The most common and notable surveillance being used in India has Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. These are popular for metro rail surveillance and monitoring. Nowadays CCTV cameras are installed along roads and toll barriers. Drones are another form of surveillance monitor which provides real-time information concerning criminal activities in progress and grave circumstances, as they reveal. Global Positioning System applications technology is expanding the law enforcement group. For reaching people who need help, police can pinpoint the location of a call using GPS and determine the fastest and secure route to reach victims. ATLPR[i] which is affixed to the outer bodies of patrol cars and electronic tag readers is becoming more desired among larger traffic police divisions.
Identification and Data Gathering gadgets
The use of Biometrics for identifying unique features of humans and hence an individual utilizing biological traits such as fingerprints, retina scans, and DNA has seen rapid popularity among police. As the technology has become cheaper, portable, and being readily available police can use handheld scanners to instantly identify individuals with mischievous pasts. With time brain mapping has also gained significance among law enforcement agencies. This developed brainwave science technology helps police to establish guilt or innocence by scanning brainwaves of a suspect based on how a suspect’s brain reacts to questioning by police.
At present, social media has gathered a noteworthy position due to the lockdown situation. Social media is establishing to be a crucial criminal justice tool in assembling location clues and other information. There have been police thwarting and solving cases as well as undetected crimes based on tips gleaned from social media posts.
There is, however, a need to keep pace with police-supporting innovations and they need to fit the Indian setting so that their implementation is convenient and simple.
IMPEDIMENTS OF POLICING BY EMPLOYING MEANS OF ICT
Currently, the administration of police is still under the hold of laws during the British time. The police expenditure is only 3% and the biggest setback is there are still vacancies present in the police force. There are several obstacles faced by the police force in India technology-wise :
There is no comprehensive system that can integrate AI digital systems used for policing globally across the country or even within a state.
There is no big data technology to identify the national database of lawbreakers through which culprits of crime could be recognized. Big data technology can assist in the quick search of demographic characteristics, iris scans, criminals' histories, suspects based on fingerprints.
The Bureau of Police Research and Development data demonstrates that neither States nor Union Territories’ police stations have a telephone or wireless sets across all the States and Union Territories.
According to the CAG report for crime investigation and transmission of crime-related data is accessed through the Police Telecommunication administration network (POLNET) mal-functioned certain dates.
The Crime and Criminal Tracking system are still lagging behind implementation in Bihar and Rajasthan.
It has been observed that senior policemen tend to ignore or shy from using new technological advancements during an investigation or any other pre-arrest procedures as they are not comfortable and lack relevant skills. Hence, they go with the traditional police mechanism which is comparatively slow for solving cases.
REFORMS TO RESOLVE TECHNOLOGICAL BARRIERS
There is a dire need for technology in revamping the control room of police organizations which could be possible by fast-tracking the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System as well as the National Intelligence Grid for incorporating new technology in police strategies.
Sometimes due to miscommunications between police stations, departmental investigations fail to take an all-rounded view which creates an opportunity for absconding suspects or criminals. A single database must be created for organized information on criminal records, tax infringements, immigration records acquittals, locational information, petty offenders, etc.
The lack of funding contributes to the dearth of application of technology in law enforcement. Due to the usage of backdated technology by the police force, cybercriminals get away with their crimes as they use more advanced technology.
In some states, there is no national standard or commonly accepted curriculum for the training of police officers and administers which can be followed. Because of their certain preference for training, certain non-traditional themes such as community engagement are often left out of the training curriculum.
The law enforcement agencies to map, visualize, and analyze crime incident patterns employ the formula of crime plotting. Using a Geographic Information system can help police officials to identify trends and patterns of crime along with other trends and patterns. Police officials must be equipped with Personal Digital Assistant Devices that would provide them with easy access to store data for tackling internal security.
PROPOSED TECHNOLOGICAL GADGETS FOR ACHIEVING THE MISSION OF SMART POLICE
Law enforcement technology has made its mark in all police departments globally as recently developed gadgets are accessible to benefit police officers in keeping a check on crime. In India Prime Minister introduced an initiative to guide police administration in achieving the goal of SMART police entirely. Following are the proposed gadgets which can be introduced for accomplishing the mission of SMART police.
For an active crime scene where it is tough to send an officer or any location requiring an accurate sightline, this robotic camera can be relied upon. The wireless device has special wheels and an electric motor that helps it to explore, move, or climb at the will of the operator.
Handheld Laser Spectroscopy Devices
Raman handheld spectroscopy device is used for the detection and identification of illegal substances. It is a highly selective technique that can differentiate between a wide range of compounds. This test can be performed with packaging material without taking out a sample.
Gunshot Detection System
This gadget uses sensors to detect gunfire and relay it to police which helps them to arrive at a crime scene more quickly than ever before. It shares digital alerts including the precise location on the map with the corresponding data like addresses, several rounds fired, type of gunfire, etc. with any smartphone, mobile laptop device connected to the police car.
Thermal imaging is a technique through which energy waves are detected and translated into a viewable image. As hot objects emit more heat it is easy to form an image of a suspect committing a crime without alerting him. These systems help police officers in an emergency incident where normal visibility is ineffective. Thermal imagers can help in several ways such as for fugitive searches, surveillance of dangerous places, collision investigations, search and rescue operations, etc.
In India, although the use of technology is new and nascent, the policing strategies for the implementation of such technology have not been evolved yet. Because of this, most of the criminals don’t get caught. Technology plays a key role in facilitating law enforcement procedures to protect everyone. To balance with today’s transforming world, India requires broad policy reform concerning the technological revolution. It must be ensured that every required tool is made accessible to the police. Additionally, funding must be considered for advanced technologies that can help in identifying, responding, and predicting criminal activities.
The vision of Prime Minister Narender Modi called for SMART police which must be smart, sensitive, responsive, modern as well as mobile, techno-savvy, and must be equipped properly for fulfilling all such features. Technological reforms are essential to achieve this vision and prepare our police with new challenges and, to reinforce its investigative competency and emergency response arrangement. This will build confidence in the public that the police force is effective and can serve efficiently. Technology enhances the professional status and organizational legitimacy of the police. For a society that is more pro-active than reactive, the police force of such a society must be eager to bring new information and communication technology in the domain of law enforcement.
* The author is a student at Amity Law School, Delhi.
[i] Automatic Tag and License Plate Readers