Policing in the 21st century has changed significantly which can be directly attributed to changes in technologies particularly the IT or information technology. Technology has had a great impact on the way policing is carried out today. However, with growth in technology use in policing, there had been different cynical arguments on its use in different situations with some arguing that their use tampers with the human rights of individuals.
Despite such skeptical arguments, use of technology in policing has helped to a great deal in preventing and apprehending criminals thus ensuring greater security for all individuals as well as the states (Foster, para 12). GangNet computer software Increased globalization led to the introduction of internet services which connects different individuals in different areas or states. Gangnet computer software was developed to help the police to collect, share information and track criminals.
This software was developed towards the end of the 20th century in California and its aim was to help the local agencies to track gangs in this state. Prior to its introduction, the intelligence departments had no avenues or linkages for sharing information regarding gang operations and movements within the state. This software was meant to create such avenues thus reducing information gaps for transferring gang related intelligence throughout California State. This software is currently being used most of the police department today for tracking down gangs and for prevention of crime.
While using this technology, information is passed online and shared among the various gang intelligence agencies and law enforcement departments which help in tracking down criminals (Dizard, para 1-3). This internet based technology helps agencies to collect information relating to gang members which include the biographical data of individuals such as height, hair color, age, markings and tattoos which are specific and eye color. The GangNet technology also enables the law enforcement agencies to compile data that is necessary in liking the gang members to addresses, field interviews, affiliates, vehicles and the symbols such gangs use.
This system is only available to police officers and law enforcement agencies and it allows them to share any information either in a state or national level which is vital for helping in identification of gang members and their location. This helps in apprehending the criminals who are involved in multiple criminal activities in the whole country. This technology has proved to be effective and it is widely used by different police departments (Greenback, para 5). Biometrics The use of biometrics technology in the 21st century is widely employed and it is used for face identification purposes.
This technology has become necessary especially with the rising terrorism threats and increase in international and national crime which is highly aided by technology. Under this technology, an individual is supposed to carry an identification document bearing his photograph for identification purposes. While in the past a person was not required to produce a photo, today is mandatory in most countries. The gangnet technology enables the gang intelligence officers to gain information on the general outlook of an individual but mostly it may not have the real picture of a person.
Under biometrics, a person is supposed to produce an identification document containing his or her photo and details relating to his nationality it should be signed by the holder. Some demand to have the fingerprints of the owner thus making it hard to forge such documents. Multiple biometrics can be stored for any individual especially those who are believed to pose major threats to the security of a nation. Such biometrics may include DNA results, images of the eye retina and fingerprints alongside a photograph (Edwards, pp 165).
With increasing technology and biometric requirements, legal issues have been raised into the privacy and human rights of individuals. Those opposing the use of biometrics argue that they tamper on the privacy of an individual thus amounting to illegality. They are connected with the calls for a national ID card which most people are against them. Terrorist threat is one of the issues raised while demanding for use of biometrics. The fear of terrorist attack have made individuals gave up their privacy rights in exchange of security.
Police officers are also given power to search any private venture of an individual without prior notice which human rights activists argue that violates the rights of individuals. Vehicular Pursuit Vehicular pursuit is also another technology which is being currently being employed by the police force for tracking down criminals and apprehending them. This technology is used for tracking down and pursuing vehicles which are of police interest for example cars which are stolen or are being used by gangsters. One of the ways which the police force uses is the StarChase System.
Under this system, a plastic ball containing a transmitter and a GPS locator are fitted in police cars to enable them locate stolen vehicles. This system also ahs power supply which is encased in the tracking projectile and it can be hand held or fitted in any police vehicles. This device helps in tracking down suspected vehicles by showing the location and movement of the tracked vehicle via an internet connection. This technology has been effective in saving lives of hijacked people and has helped in reducing high speed chasing which in the past was dangerous and risky for the individuals as well as the police (Balinski, para 2-3).
Another technology used for vehicular pursuit is the auto arrestor system. Under this system, the police use electric currents to disrupt all the electric devises which enables a vehicle to move. Auto arrestor disrupts these devices making the tracked vehicle to come to a halt which is controlled by the police. This ensures that the individuals or suspects being tracked down have no opportunity of running away or causing further harm. Initially, crowding, bumping, tire spikes and three cruiser roadblocks were being used which mostly resulted in destruction of the vehicle and injury of individuals as well as property.
Civilians were also exposed to danger. The use of auto arrestor minimized such occurrences as vehicles are made to stop calmly. On star technology is also another method used to stop fleeing cars. This technology helps the police to locate all stolen vehicles. This method also helps the police to remotely slow down the vehicle giving them time to catch up with it (Balinski, para 5-7). Crime Scene Investigation Technology for investigating crime scenes has also greatly improved in the recent years. Currently, the mostly widely used technology is that of DNA testing which is carried out for both current and past crime cases.
Use of DNA testing is one of the most powerful and accurate methods that is currently used to solve or investigate crime. Each individual has a specific DNA which is contained in the blood and hair roots and this DNA can be differentiated from all other individuals in the world. This has helped reduce errors in forensic investigations and in prosecutions. Another technology used for crime investigation is referred to as CODIS. CODIS which is a computer software programs operates national, state and local databases of convicted offenders DNA profiles, missing persons and also for crime scene evidence of unsolved cases.
This software enables the crime laboratories for law enforcements to compare and contrast DNA profiles electronically thus helping them link any serial crimes with the suspects through the matching of DNA results from crime scenes and those of convicted offenders. This advancement of DNA recording and collection database has greatly helped in solving different crime scenes and it is the latest form of technology being used in the world today (Edwards, pp 198). High-defining surveying commonly referred to as HDS is also another method which is currently being employed by the investigation detectives while investigation crime.
HDS helps in creating a virtual crime scene which is used by investigators while maneuvering all information of evidence collected during an investigation. HDS sends a laser light off of any objects found in the scene of crime and then send it to a digital sensor which in turn creates a 3-dimensional coordinates which are calculated and kept as algebraic equations. They are highly technological which helps solve crime scene mysteries being used currently and also marks the latest form of police technology (Edwards, pp 213). Conclusion
Police technologies have greatly evolved from the use of a gun and a night stick to the use of HDS during crime prevention and investigation respectively. These changes in technology are expected to continue changing as criminals continue to change their tactics. It is imperative for police to ensure that they are a step ahead of criminals as far as use of technology is concerned if the police force is to be effective in crime prevention and apprehension of criminals. In the future, it is expected that the police force will plant high tech surveillance technologies in major crime scenes.
Such technologies should not be made in a manner that even when a crime is carried out, they should be in a position of sending signals accompanied by digital pictures of the scene of crime and the criminals. This would help in reducing and easily identifying criminals for prosecution processes. However, the police force requires funds which should be availed to them by the government to help them be proactive in fighting crime. As crime continues to become complex owing to the increased technology, the police force should at the forefront of developing new technologies of combating crime.
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aspx. Edwards, Charles J. : Changing policing theories for 21st century societies. 2005. Federation Press, ISBN 1862875375 Foster, Raymond E. : The Evolution and Development of Police Technology. 1998. Retrieved on 16th June 2009 from, http://www. police-technology. net/id59. html Greenback, Laura: GangNet software. 2006. Retrieved on 16th June 2009 from, http://www. examiner. com/a-478167~GangNet_software_is_on_the_way. html. Lopez, Carlos Cabezas: Criminal Investigation: DNA Testing. 2008. Retrieved on 16th June 2009 from, http://www. associated