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Technology gives officers 'greater power' to solve crimes

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

By - Jasmin McDermott - Police Oracle


Handing officers sophisticated crime investigation technologies that can extract crucial information from data and detect abnormal behaviour will help to create a more "rapid response" Police Service, an expert has said.

Allowing officers to use smart software and technology that can analyse large and complex data sets as a form of intelligence will allow detectives to pursue relevant lines of enquiry rather than delaying an investigation, according to Paul Stokes, Chief Operating Officer of the Wynyard Group.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com Mr Stokes said that quite often law enforcement personnel and officers were often given "rudimentary technology" which could end up delaying investigations.

He said: "There is a misconception by the public of how advanced law enforcement is with technology.

"They often work with much more rudimentary technology.

"Most of these sophisticated tools that can identify patterns, anomalies and present information visually are often developed for more secure government agencies and these agencies have very capable analysts who have strong technical skills.

"That is not the case for law enforcement and we only develop products for law enforcement agencies and working with them.

"If you are investigating a case you don't want to wait days or weeks for data from witness statements or for an analyst to tell you what that might mean.

"If you are investigating the case yourself then you know the details in the investigation and are more capable of asking the right questions of the data.

"There could be a much more rapid response and closure of cases."

Collaborative approach

One piece of software that the company, which produces advanced crime analytics software for critical threat assessment, has created is Person of Interest.

The technology places a greater emphasis on collaborative working between various partner agencies to build an intelligence picture on a particular person.

Using various data sets and agency interactions the software builds up a picture of "normal" behaviour exhibited by a person and alerts the relevant agencies if the individual displays abnormal behaviour.

Mr Stokes said: "Instead of putting crime at the centre of law enforcement operations we are putting the person at the centre of the investigation.

"You can build a framework of tools around the people of interest to try and prevent crime happening to them or by them.

"I think that is where a lot of law enforcement needs to go - there needs to be much more focus on stopping things from happening rather than trying to find people after a crime has been committed."

In addition, Mr Stokes said that forces and agencies need to focus on reducing the harm that cyber crime causes communities rather than purely focusing on trying to stop the continual stream of new crimes that happen.

"If you look at crime patterns across the world cyber crime continues to increase," he added. "It is a case of old crime new tools.

"You cannot completely stop it from happening to people but you need to figure out how to reduce the harm."