police

The Delhi Police will start using a ‘predictive policing’ mechanism in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), reports Huffington Post. According to the cops, the system will help crime control and law and order and security management through analysis of relevant data and patterns.

Other than this, the system, called the Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System (CMAPS), will provide police officials with personal digital assistants (PDA) for real time access to information at crime scenes, to avoid going back to police stations to file reports. Additionally, distress calls will also be flashed on the PDA using GPS for faster response times.

Currently the crime mapping is conducted manually by gathering electronic data every 15 days, although it’s not clear which data is being collected. Apparently, the system will also help the cops identify gangs in specific areas in real time. Importantly, an official said that specific predictions can also lead to arrest of criminals.

Note that it’s not clear how exactly the ISRO is going to help the Delhi Police achieve its goals, other than maybe providing data analytics based on information from road cams, live distress calls and other such factors. Additionally, there is no real clarity on how predictive data can lead to arrest of criminals. We hope the system is better than something like the US-based TSAs ‘no-fly-list’.

Security concerns: Another noteworthy point is that police officials will be provided with PDAs, although there is no clear mention on where these will be sourced from or what OS they will operate. As police forces around the world start carrying more and more connected devices, the security of these devices becomes of concern.

For example, in November last year, the notorious Conficker worm was found infecting several police body cameras in the US. Similarly, PDAs can be infected at source, or through human error, and hypothetically be hijacked to direct cops to a wrong location during an emergency. Improved transparency and IT training for the cops will help mitigate some of the risks that come with automation.