• Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

    Lagos CP Harps On Use Of Technology To Aid Law Enforcement In Securing Public Spaces 

    ByHyacinth Chinweuba

    May 11, 2022 , ,

    The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi on Tuesday emphasised the importance of technology in law enforcement for a secured public space.

    The CP said this while giving a keynote address on “Public Safety: The Challenge of Securing Public Spaces and the Role of Technology and Law Enforcement. 

    Alabi said that security, from time immemorial has remained an engaging and primary concern of humanity and not unconnected to the fact that no meaningful development and sustainable economic growth can take place in any society in the absence of adequacy of security. 

    “It is my pleasure to be in your midst today as a Special Guest of Honour, and to deliver a keynote address on an issue of common concern to all: ‘Securing Public Spaces, and the Role of Technology in Law Enforcement’. 

    “It gladdens my heart, therefore, that virtually all segments of our contemporary society are coming to the realization that security is a collective business, which demands the involvement and participation of every well-meaning member of the society for enhanced community safety and domestic peace. 

    “Securing the public spaces in Nigeria is increasingly becoming problematic, more complex and tasking, due to ever-changing mode, sophistication and unprecedented lethality of criminality in our present-day Nigeria. 

    “There is no doubt that the 21st century revolution in technology which birthed information superhighway and reduced the world to a global community, has further challenged the traditional policing methods and strategies of the Nigeria Police Force in keeping pace with emergent crimes which have become highly mobile and quite organised. 

    “Revolution in Information Technology is unarguably one of the greatest inventions of our contemporary society, and paradoxically, a gift of fire to the society, as criminals have ceaselessly exploit the invention in the perpetration and advancement of crimes on one hand, while the police has also on the other hand leveraged on technological innovations in crime management. 

    “Information technology has undoubtedly brought multiple challenges to securing public places in Nigeria, as it has revolutionised crimes and criminality on one hand, and on the other hand, has opened up policing to greater public scrutiny and accountability. 

    “Scientific and technological developments in our contemporary society have brought in complexities and far-reaching consequences in the realm of crime. Violent crimes are no exception to this process as people across the globe are deeply drawn into the daily drama of being assaulted, mugged, robbed and killed in some way or the other, overtly and covertly. 

    “This phenomenon has become a matter of regular feature experienced by people in all walks of life in our present-day society.  According to Goel (2014), policing has become complicated and complex as with the advent of fast communication through mobile, air services, digital technology, the criminals are committing crime every minute and that is why it has become essential for the police to make use of Information Technology in order to be effective and efficient in their statutory mandate to the society. 

    “According to him, the following factors have generated the need of ICT in contemporary policing in Africa;

    i.Increasing rate of crime as well as changing mode of crimes.

    ii.Terrorism increasing in complexity and direction.

    iii.Agitations by different interest groups causing violence and rift in the society.

    iv.Liberalization, globalization and privatization.

    v.Cyber Crime.

    vi.Sophisticated instruments with the criminals and use of computer technology by criminals.

    vii.Erosion of credibility of police and negative image of police among people.

    viii.Inefficient, ineffective, lethargically, insensitive and corrupt police. 

    ix.Police lack transparency and non-availability.  

    “The advancement of society has required, therefore, that the police become more innovative, more efficient, more successful, with better equipped systems and modern technological tools in order to adequately provide the services and security that people desire. 

    “Deflem (2002) also noted that ‘technological advances are particularly relevant for policing because they are seen to influence the organization and the practices of {the} police.’ While Schultz (2008) believes that technological advancement in the society has informed technological changes in policing, as the significance of technology in the development of policing cannot be denied, and nor can it be overstated, for it provides the tools needed to better understand the criminal acts, and to better protect the community in the future. 

    “The story of policing and its relationship with technology is a convergence of paths, which have developed separately and completely independently of each other, but are nevertheless intertwined. Noting the imperativeness of technology in policing, Wright & Sheldon (2010, p. 3) state that:

    “Technology plays an essential role in modern policing and provides the investigator with an array of opportunities to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice effectively and assist with other key responsibilities, such as death and major incident investigations. 

    “It also plays an important role in providing effective and robust communications systems: traffic management; intelligence gathering and dissemination; and administrative solutions. Unfortunately, the criminal fraternity at all levels has quickly grasped cutting-edge technology. It is currently recognised as a problem to overcome when dealing with organised crime and terrorism, which have both become global phenomena in no small part due to technological innovation.

    “The role of technology in the creation of insecurity and crime is growing as new technologies have and will continue to have without doubt a major influence on all aspects of human environment. 

    “Technologization of some aspects of policing in Nigeria is undoubtedly a huge achievement of the Nigeria Police Force, with tremendous successes in the fight against organised and violent criminality in Nigeria. This is evident in the successful arrest of notorious and dare-devil criminals, through tracking and geo-location of their criminal hideouts and rescuing of abducted victims of kidnappings. 

    “‘Technologization’ of policing is undoubtedly a great boost to policing and law enforcement, as it offers myriads of opportunities to the police in crime detection, crime investigation and crime control, towards a safer society; this is, however, not without its attendant challenges which bother on ethical questions, for any new technological innovation is likely to have both intended and unintended consequences for crime and social control, as well as the society. 

    “The employment of technology in policing, mostly in developing democracies like Nigeria, comes with a litany of challenges, which negatively impacts on its effective utilization and optimal results. The identified challenges are:

    “Built-in or Planned Obsolescence: This entails that a product is built with weaker or poorer materials or made in such a way to have a predetermined length of time. Technology and its varied platforms and innovations have always been in a constant state of mutation and dynamics, which entails huge cost in terms of acquisition, maintenance and training. 

    “This obviously poses a serious challenge to NPF, whose funding has been argued by many as inadequate. The effects of built-in obsolescence on police technology in Nigeria are quite huge and crippling as the inability of the NPF to continuously maintain, acquire and/or upgrade to newer technologies negatively impacts on its operational efficiency in policing public spaces in Nigeria.

    “Ethical and Social Questions: Police reliance on technology in policing involves an important tension between demands for effective (crime) control, on one hand, and the continued and revived focus on issues of justice and invasion of privacy rights, on the other hand. 

    “Advances in police technology have heightened the expectations of the public of what technology can deliver not only in terms of convenience, but also in connection with the prevention and investigation of crime and other security incidents. 

    “But this development has also significant implications for individual privacy and for society at large, and raises the question as to whether the accumulation of technological-driven control devices will not bring about a ‘big brother society’ and reassertion of state control. 

    “There is no doubts increased reliance on technology will lead us further down a potentially treacherous road: an increased reliable on both coercive surveillance and coercive control strategies, which will ultimately lead into police society, where people’s right to privacy will no longer be guaranteed.

    “Public Trust: Use of technology in policing must consider the potential risk to public trust.  This can originate problems not only in relation to ethics, the respect to human rights, but also trust or legitimacy. 

    “Technologization of police work fosters suspicion and distrust. The growing technological interface in policing governance implies a considerable reduction in direct human contact, which means that the professional intelligence and knowledge increasingly hinges on data-machines and technologies employed by the police for its operations. Thus, the decline of trust creates a further demand for more certainty. 

    “The challenge of Capacity-building: New technologies demand regular training and retraining programmes, in order to cope with the ever-changing modes of criminality and learn possible ways of investigating and containing such crimes through the employment of technology. 

    “This also raises serious issues of funding for the NPF and its ability to keep pace with new and evolving police technologies through constant trainings and retraining of its personnel. Also, other institutional challenges of redeployment of trained personnel to another command can as well scuttle the efficient deployment of technology in policing Nigeria, as the personnel taking over will definitely require to be trained on the use of the particular equipment. 

    “High Cost of Police Technologies: Some of the modern police technologies currently deployed by the NPF in its operations were donated by foreign governments and international partners as support to improved police services to the Nigerian society. The truth is that most of these modern police technologies are costly, and the present budget of the NPF can only afford to acquire just very few of them. 

    “The impact of police technologies in Nigeria, therefore, cannot be adequately felt if the equipment are not deployed to state commands, but only stationed in Abuja. The 2015 Standish Group Chaos Report indicate that daily integration of technology is vital for 21st century police organizations, as technology can improve public safety by supporting operations, aiding with enforcement strategies, detecting and responding to crimes, gathering and analyzing evidence, improving efficiency and increasing officer’s safety. 

    “The Report however notes that while technologies bring great benefits to the police, police executives must continue to grapple with huge fiscal responsibilities that come with it. The total cost of a technology can be daunting and huge, particularly with new technologies in view of the life-cycle cost analysis of the tools and equipment, which include, Initial costs, Operating Costs, Maintenance Costs, and Disposal Costs.

    “It is obvious the world is changing and will continue to change rapidly. The future seems increasingly uncertain and dangerous with a seemingly rat race between the police and criminals at exploring and employing technological innovations for their interests and gains. 

    “What happens in the world impacts and will continue to impact on the police and policing, as globalisation keeps bringing new problems and challenges as well as offering new opportunities and possibilities. 

    “Existing and emerging technologies indeed can be a force multiplier for police organizations, allowing them to do more with less, to provide public safety more effectively, to enhance the police officer’s safety, to increase transparency, and even to help reduce crime in the society. 

    “However, equipping a 21st century police organisation is very expensive, which underscores the imperativeness of private sector involvement, participation and support to the Nigeria Police Force in acquiring and maintaining modern police technologies and law enforcement tools, for improved public safety and internal security in Nigeria.” he said.

    Hyacinth Chinweuba

    HYACINTH Chinweuba is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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