Digital technology has the potential to transform the way policing is delivered, by bringing police officers closer to crime spots and communities. The digital policing vision aims to improve investigations and will make it easier for the public and police to communicate, enabling forces to respond and adapt to the digital world that is playing an ever more important role in everyday life.
Digital policing has a vital role to play in all areas of the police force, transforming policing in three key ways.
Police are now using mobile fingerprinting systems that allow them to check the identity of an unknown person against a database of 12 million records in less than a minute. Officers will carry a hand-held scanner connected to their smartphone, allowing them to scan fingertips. The scans are then checked against the database. The system was first trialled by West Yorkshire Police for three weeks before being rolled out to 250 officers.
Police interviewing is undergoing a revolution. The traditional image of tape recorders in police interview rooms is becoming history as police forces embrace new technologies such as digital audio-visual interview equipment and touch screens, which can provide improved access to recording for police, defence lawyers and suspects. Further advances are also being made in how the police are conducting non-custodial interviews.
The resources available to assist police in investigations have grown over the years, with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter providing a wealth of evidence for investigators. Social Media has become a significant solving partner.