The new age of smarter policing

The new age of smarter policing

Singapore's "Safe City" pilot programme involves companies working with the Government to integrate advanced analytic capabilities into existing video monitoring systems. This helps the authorities improve situational awareness, streamline operations and enhance response times to incidents.

Today's policemen and women face unprecedented challenges. Rising citizen expectations, evolving crime types, and shrinking budgets test the capabilities of police forces around the world.

A recent survey by consulting company Accenture, which included a series of in-depth interviews with 22 senior police officers from 16 countries, found that citizen expectations are rising. These include the way crimes are reported, the effectiveness of emergency response, citizen-centric welfare, public safety and public involvement in policing.

Citizens are no longer passive recipients of information. They are actively engaging in conversations with and about the police, in person and online, to report crime or partake in neighbourhood watch programmes.

They would also like the police to engage more with them, mirroring the customer-centric approach that they experience in their interactions with brands and companies. And with the digitalisation of services creating greater demands around how information is handled and managed, citizens are increasingly demanding greater levels of transparency in terms of decision-making, prioritisation and the quality of service being delivered.

Yet police forces across the globe also face manpower constraints and budget cuts. They are now pressed to deliver the same level of performance and efficiency, with limited resources.

Three key steps need to be adopted to overcome these challenges. These are: tapping the power of analytics, improving operational capabilities by taking advantage of new technology, and leveraging on social media.

Predictive analytics

ANALYTICS - which harness useful insights from disorganised data - can prove a valuable ally in combating crime. Analysis of historical trends will better inform daily operational decisions, allowing police departments to better assess, predict and prevent crime.

Singapore's new "Safe City" pilot programme is a step in this direction. This is a one-year programme where private sector companies work with the Government to integrate advanced analytic capabilities into the existing video monitoring systems used in the city. This helps city authorities improve situational awareness, streamline operations and enhance the response times to public safety incidents.

These include crowd and traffic movements, public disorder incidents or environmental threats such as flooding. Should potential incidents be identified, alerts are sent instantly to the relevant authorities, including the police.

In Santa Cruz, California, police forces have successfully applied predictive analytics to burglary data to identify the streets at greatest risk and then increase patrols in those areas. The result has been a 19 per cent drop in property theft without deploying additional officers.

Predictive analytics offers, for the first time, the ability to generate insights and results without additional manpower.

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