by Ofe Ivharue
‘Reform the Police’ is a chant that has made headlines worldwide over the past few years, and even more this year especially in Nigeria. Reformation would first start from the internal processes within the police departments and move all the way out. In a world driven by technology, reformation would mean a transition from the old way of doing things to a more efficient, tech-driven way. This new way is sure to automate a lot of mundane tasks within the force, improve transparency, and allow for better service.
We have highlighted some reformative technologies that will do the Nigerian police force a lot of good:
Policing in this digital age will definitely call for digitalization especially in the areas of data collection, reportage, and storage. By going digital, the Nigerian police force can convert all paper forms needed — from arrest to release— into digital forms that can be accessed on any digital device, which would ensure that everything is properly documented and transparent. With this, reporting crimes can happen a lot quicker as officers can complete paperwork from any crime scene and have them updated in real-time for processing. The file, once digital, can be easily referenced if needed; take an instance of a repeat-offender getting arrested in another location, officers in that location can easily pull out the case file and have knowledge of the offender’s previous crimes.
The beauty of a central system is in the transparency it offers. When all forms generated are uploaded to a central system, it becomes easy for the top officials in the police force to track cases and get real-time updates on activities in the station from anywhere in the world. Arrest and release forms can pass through the chain of command for approval, and even be signed digitally without any need for the officials to visit the station.
When making an arrest, the need to know ‘exactly who a person is’ becomes necessary. It will be unfair for an impersonator to go scot-free after committing a crime while the impersonated gets a criminal record that might taint their reputation. Hence the need for identity verification to ensure the person to be arrested is exactly who they say they are. Using ID verification technologies, police officers can match the information provided by the suspect/criminal at the point of arrest with the information in a different database— say a national database — that can serve as a source of truth. For example, officers can match a person’s face with the image in the NIN or BVN database. This way, police officers can be sure of who has been detained (or about to be detained) in any cell nation-wide.
A case management technology will offer a robust system to digitally transform the processes of tracking, investigation, monitoring, and collation of data within the police force to allow for a more efficient and productive workflow. This system will harmonize all the information that is pertinent to a case and offer all the necessary tools for a proper follow-up. Another great benefit of this system is in its offer of analytics. This system will be able to churn data into presentable formats which can be used by the police force to analyze trends and answer questions like where and when crimes occur mostly, ensuring that every opportunity to arrest a suspect or stop a crime is maximized.
The technology solutions in this group can play numerous roles including serving as a tool for holistic staff enumeration necessary to weed out ghost workers, like excommunicated officers or impersonators, that pad up the payroll records and receive paychecks for no work done. This technology can also serve as a payroll automation tool that will ensure that salaries are calculated effectively and go out as at when due so police officers can smile to the bank and be more motivated to do the good work. Finally, this technology can even go further to automate the processes of re-evaluation and re-training of the Nigerian police force (as is a demand for reform) which can be enforced as a requirement for deployment or reinstatement so that only certified police officers are put on duty.
Technology can do all these and even more, all aimed at reforming a willing Police Force. Certain solutions like BioRegistra are built for this purpose and come with amazing capabilities that will go even further to digitally transform the force for optimized results. With enabling features like mobile capture so that arrests can be documented on a mobile device outside the station, offline capabilities so that there are no limits to reportage, geofencing to pinpoint the exact location of an arrest, and so much more.
See how BioRegistra can foster police force reformation