JUST IN: A Technology-driven Police Force

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A Technology-driven Force

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When, recently, the (FCT) Minister, , lamented the lack of basic tracking equipment for the police and security forces in 's capital territory, it highlighted a glaring and unacceptable deficiency.
In an era when technology is force-multiplying law enforcement capabilities around the world, and Nigeria in general and the FCT in particular, remains stuck in an analog age ill-equipped to counter 21st century threats, then it raises more questions than answers.

In the considered opinion of this newspaper, the revelation that the very command charged with protecting the seat of Nigeria's do not possess tracking devices, is not only sobering but also constitutes a national embarrassment.
Tracking technology, in our view, is a law enforcement fundamental, not a luxury. Rapid response and pursuit enabled by GPS tracking is crucial to combating the scourge of kidnapping and abduction that has metastasized across the nation in recent years. That such basic capabilities are lacking speaks to systemic under-investment in strategic policing infrastructure.

As we grapple with this unsettling reality, it is instructive to look beyond the nation's borders and draw inspiration from others who have embraced technology as a force multiplier in the against crime.
We are compelled to make reference to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In that country, the Police Force has established itself as a global pacesetter in leveraging advanced technologies. From employing artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning to analyze crime patterns to deploying autonomous drone units for surveillance and emergency response, the UAE has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to staying ahead of the curve.

Across the Atlantic, the USA has long been a pioneer in integrating technology into law enforcement operations. From the widespread use of body-worn cameras (bodycams), predictive policing algorithms to the deployment of cutting-edge forensic tools, American law enforcement agencies have harnessed the power of innovation to safeguard communities and uphold the rule of law.
It is imperative for Nigeria to learn from these global leaders and prioritise the technological empowerment of our law enforcement agencies. In our view, tracking technologies are just the tip of the iceberg. If law enforcement is to modernise and realise its full potential as an effective bulwark against criminal elements, comprehensive digitisation is required as well.

This means implementing integrated computer-aided dispatch, records management systems, and real-time crime analytics platforms in central command centres.
Data and intelligence-driven, intelligence-led policing is a global best practice, allowing agencies to strategically map out threat patterns and deploy resources with precision, in stark contrast to antiquated reactive models.
Widespread implementation of CCTV monitoring systems and automatic license plate readers can also substantially augment investigative capabilities.

Most critically, in our opinion, the must prioritise introducing a national criminal database, a powerful crimefighting asset that has remained inexplicably absent.
A 2017 Stratfor global analysis found countries with databases linking DNA evidence to profiles experienced 40-50 percent increases in cold case solves. No stone should be left unturned in seeking to make Nigeria's DNA database comprehensive and a permanent repository for all forensic crime scene evidence.
Naturally, investment in equipment and technologies alone is insufficient without concomitant investment in human capital. The success of any digitization effort relies on recruiting and training a new generation of digitally literate police officers versed in these powerful new systems and analytic techniques.
This will require overhauling training curricula while simultaneously raising compensation packages to attract bright computer- literate youth to the policing profession.

The deployment of tracking devices, CCTV cameras, and other surveillance technologies must become a cornerstone of our security strategy, not just in the Federal Capital Territory but across the nation.
The that Nigeria's police force is understaffed is valid, but it should not be used as an excuse for inaction. While we undoubtedly need to bolster our ranks through strategic recruitment efforts, we must also recognize that technology can serve as a force multiplier, enabling our officers to be more effective and efficient in their duties.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police suggests a ratio of 3.4 officers for every 1,000 residents. Nigeria's current police strength of around 370,000 officers is woefully inadequate for a population of over 200 million, resulting in a ratio of one officer to approximately 600 citizens – far below the recommended United Nations standard of one officer per 450 citizens.
This stark reality underscores the urgency of leveraging technology to bridge the gap and enhance our law enforcement capabilities. To realize this vision, the country must prioritize investments in cutting-edge technologies tailored to her unique security challenges. From deploying a robust network of CCTV cameras and implementing advanced facial recognition systems to equipping the officers with state-of-the-art tracking devices and data analytics tools, we must leave no stone unturned in our quest for a safer Nigeria.

Moreover, we must foster collaborative partnerships between law enforcement agencies, technology companies, and academic institutions. By tapping into the collective expertise and resources of these stakeholders, we can develop innovative solutions tailored to our specific needs and stay ahead of evolving criminal tactics.

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