The role of a police officer has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, and this is predominantly down to evolving technology. There’s no denying that technology has massively impacted every sector of our existence; however, its effect on law enforcement is more vital than ever. When we look back on all the unsolved crimes of the last 100 years, it’s frustrating to think how much further we would’ve gotten with technology on our side. So, what is the latest law enforcement technology, and how is it assisting us in making the world a better place?
Automatic Number Plate Recognition
One of the greatest pieces of monitoring equipment is Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). The unique numbers and letters on license plates enable the police to determine whether a vehicle’s owner is wanted or even if the vehicle has been stolen. The latest technology means that a picture is taken of a license plate that is then compared against a database of suspicious vehicles. ANPR is capable of identifying, screening, and recording multiple license plates faster than any police officer could, making it a valuable addition to law enforcement technology.
One of the downfalls that all police officers must accept is that they can’t be everywhere at once. Similarly, some situations are too high-risk for physical officers to be involved in, meaning that robots are required to be their replacement.Robotic camerascan be thrown into hard-to-reach areas, so that officers are able to monitor a situation without being physically present. These robots can be operated safely from a distance, meaning that they’re often used for bomb detection and the inspection of suspicious vehicles and homes. Since they’re equipped with wheels and motors, they can be easily moved so that officers can review the entire scene.
In spite of the sinister sounding name, handheld lasers aren’t quite how they’re depicted in sci-fi movies. Instead, handheld lasers are typically used to identify the chemical composition of unknown substances. This is an effective piece of equipment, as it reduces the amount of time that officers are required to spend in the lab deciphering substances. In turn, this allows more time for action, meaning that officers can invest their time into keeping the public safe. Furthermore, it means that dangerous substances can be identified almost immediately, meaning that the most sensible course of action can be determined from the off.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, are another mode of law enforcement technology that enable officers to view locations without physically being there. UAS facilitates officers in monitoring from a height, which allows for an enhanced view that couldn’t be provided by the human eye. Drones are incredibly effective in saving the forces money, as they eliminate a lot of need for helicopters. Similarly, like robotic cameras, they remove the need for an officer to operate them, making them ideal for use in high-risk situations. Despite this, since drones are being used by unofficial parties, they’re currently fighting for respect in the law enforcement industry.
It may sound incredibly simplistic, but one of the most valuable pieces of police technology is your standard tablet. Being a police officer requires you to be on the move a lot of the time, and tablets are ideal for bringing this work with you. 20 years ago, all files were stored on a desktop computer, which can’t exactly come with you on unforeseen missions; however, the get-up-and-go nature of tablets makes them ideal for law enforcement work. Ultimately, less officers at their desks means more officers out and about preventing crime.