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Can you hear me now? Police organizations take steps toward a “conversation society”

17 April 2013 | Martin Slijkhuis, Public Safety and National Security Industry Lead, Microsoft Western Europe

The concept of policing in a caring society touches on some of the major change that global law enforcement is undergoing in order to meet the demands of our increasingly mobile, virtual and borderless society. Amid this transformation, two key trends continue to emerge:

  • Regionally focused policing is being emphasized to enable collaboration among law enforcement officers across larger areas
  • Community policing is increasingly tapping into the plethora of data available through mobile phones, CCTV, and community-based partnerships
These trends are the first step toward repositioning command and control for improved domain awareness and the establishment of a “conversation society,” where citizens and law enforcement agencies join together in a security dialogue that integrates across networks and expands domain awareness beyond traditional borders and boundaries.
A key tool for a conversation society is mobile devices. Smartphones enable better communication between citizens, governments, and first responders from anywhere, particularly in times of emergency or crisis. At the same time, citizens can connect with governments and public safety organizations via social media tools that can provide geo-located incident information or data about crowd patterns and behaviors. Recent research studies have documented the positive impact that a more open relationship between law enforcement, the public, and the media can have in peacefully managing crowd control, as evidenced by the success of the South Yorkshire Police.
In addition, the New York City Police Department has seen tremendous benefits from its pioneering of the Domain Awareness System (DAS), a sophisticated law enforcement solution that aggregates and analyzes information gathered from advanced technologies such as smart cameras and license plate readers in real time. The resulting intelligence provides NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity, along with a geographic and chronological context to incidents that can assist investigators in identifying important patterns.
As law enforcement and public safety agencies increasingly depend on advanced technology and open citizen communication for better domain awareness, I believe new developments will continue to emerge on the path to becoming this future “conversation society,” such as:
  • Strategic partnerships will extend domain awareness collaboration, enabling private security organizations to support both governmental and non-governmental facilities and better incident dispatch to deployed units
  • Citizens will begin actively participating in police investigations through open and mobile platforms
This evolving approach can help agencies collect, evaluate, and analyze the data they need for a better understanding of their environment, faster incident response, and safer citizens.
Martin Slijkhuis
Public Safety and National Security Industry Lead, Microsoft Western Europe

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About the Author

Martin Slijkhuis | Public Safety and National Security Industry Lead, Microsoft Western Europe

Martin advises defense, justice, and police organizations on emerging technologies for defense transformation and citizen safety architecture. This includes bridging knowledge transfer for governments developing strategies to address cyber threats.