How Tech Plays a Role in Modern Policing
Digital technologies, such as cryptocurrency, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) have advanced rapidly in the last few years. However, existing regulatory structures are struggling to keep pace, resulting in reactive responses to new-age crimes. To gain the upper hand on fighting crime in a digital-first world, law enforcement bodies must be proactively involved in the development of new regulatory frameworks from the ground up. This will be one of the focus areas at the inaugural World Police Summit in Dubai next month, bringing together international policing departments and organisations from both the public and private sector.
“Innovation is a continuous journey and one where transparency, accountability, and trust are the key issues for law enforcement. Innovation is also about identifying new and more efficient processes. The roles and duties of policing will have to adapt to keep pace with the broader social, technological and economic developments which are shaping communities. This is where global dialogue and collaboration will play an important role in ensuring law enforcement can develop best practice in serving its citizens” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of Interpol, who will be speaking at the Summit.
The need for stronger, more comprehensive, proactive regulatory structures to tackle crime in new fields is becoming especially urgent as criminals aggressively exploit novel technologies. In 2021, cryptocurrency-linked crime hit a record high for value with illegal addresses receiving US$14 billion in digital currencies. Mexican cartels are using drones to gather intelligence, run surveillance and even carry arms to attack rival gangs and security forces. Fraudsters replicated the voice of a company director in the United Arab Emirates with AI and authorised a US$35 million transfer from a Hong Kong bank.
H.E. Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Police & Public Security in Dubai & Chairman of The Anti-Narcotics Council, Dubai Police, notes that collaboration is needed to build a regulatory infrastructure that can effectively curb the rising crime rate, involving police departments at the formation stage. “As enforcement agencies, our primary concern is how we can best protect our people, even in a digital age. Enforcers, regulators and innovators must join forces to create an environment where innovation can thrive, outside of crime’s shadow. We have always worked closely with other stakeholders to develop policies and create awareness around new technologies, and we look forward to sharing our experiences and building a collaborative relationship with the global policing community at the World Police Summit 2022.”
It is crucial that the police force is involved in regulatory discussions as they will affect the deployment of these technologies not just for crime, but also for crimefighting. AI, for instance, is gaining popularity within law enforcement strategies for its ability to identify criminals through facial recognition technology. At the same time, it is also drawing increased public scrutiny due to the regulatory grey area and ongoing data privacy concerns. Without balanced and thoughtful regulation, law enforcers could be deprived of important tools and innovations that can help combat crime.
Drones are a striking example of technology’s duality. While they have been used in criminal activities, they have also proven to be a great boon for law enforcement to collect evidence, improve situational awareness, and even act as first-responder. However, regulations around responsible drone usage in a public setting are still at a nascent stage worldwide, presenting a barrier to full-fledged deployment. These regulatory developments, inter-departmental coordination, and the future of drones in policing, will be key topics in the WPS Drone Conference.
Addressing the gaps between enforcement and innovation will be a primary focus at the inaugural World Police Summit. Held from 14 to 17 March 2022, the summit will be hosted at the Dubai Exhibition Centre – Expo 2020 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and the Ruler of Dubai. The event is hosted by Dubai Police and organised by dmg events.