An insight on how technology will affect law enforcement in the near future


Policing in the present time is in the era of Intelligence Led Policing. “Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is a policing model that is built around the assessment and management of risk” (Wikipedia, 2013). What this means is that intelligence officers would serve as guides to operations, rather than vice versa. The origin of ILP in both Great Britain and the United States of America was in the 1990’s. the main reason why ILP came into its very existence was to concealing the secret war between the FBI and CIA ; between the national security and domestic policing. Intelligence Led policing was known to most parts of the world right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America.

In Canada, the predecessor of ILP could be traced all the way back to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) unsuccessful attempt in preventing the destruction of the Air India Flight 182. Air India was bombed by terrorists in 1985. At that point of time the conflict between the Law enforcement and the intelligence teams did not help the whole situation either. After the incident, RCMP concluded that if the Sikh community and the Police department would have had a better relationship; it might have just prevented the tragedy because of the intelligence they possibly would have acquired with regard to the plot of terrorists that were looking to form a separate Sikh state in India. This Resulted in Canada pushing towards accepting community policing, but soon realised that it wasn’t community policing that would help in preventing and capturing these extremists and it would take a little bit more than that; “mode of information that is important.” (Intelligence). Therefore the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came up with the idea of the CAPRA model (Clients, Analysis, Partnerships, Response, Assessment), which was incorporated with the forces and has been re-cast as, Intelligence Led Policing.

ILP is still in its initial stages and thus cannot be called the future of new policing.


Cyber Crime

Itis a special genre of technology in itself. instead of using technology to make it easy to carry out crimes; criminals these days practically use the internet and technology to commit almost all their crimes. The most dominant type’s cyber-crimes are identity theft, theft of sensitive personal information, fraud, money laundering, cyber bullying and cyber-attacks for political or economic gain. So far cyber criminals are also involved in a variety of other criminal happenings.

With the increase in the use of the internet; more valuable information and assets are being stored electronically, and the benefits to crime using technology is on the rise and outweighs them. The fastest growing component of crime in the world is Cyber-crime and the chances of a person to be suffering from ‘real’ crime in the physical world is much lower than that of a person being a target online in the virtual world.

“Committing cyber crimes is much more profitable, significantly less risky, and strictly linked to market logic and trends” (Buddenberg, 2010).

Cyber crime has grown significantly in less than 10 years. The present day hackers are no longer the same amateur hackers who would hack into things “just to see what happens” but are much more advanced and are experts in gaining on their technological skill in a creepy specialization of labor in the marketplace for Cyber crime tools. There are online marketplaces where criminals can now literally shop for stolen credit card numbers , bank account numbers and passcodes, etc. these are all provided by high level hackers who supply these sensitive information to other users in order to carry out criminal activities. The U.S Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn best put the hindrance of cyber crime saying, “A missile comes with a return address, a computer virus generally does not” (Lynn, 2010). The police department will most likely deal with these type of criminals as investment in technology progresses.

Virtual Crimes and Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds

Individuals are spending more time online resulting in them creating virtual identities for themselves. The identities may or may not be the same as their real physical identity. There are many individuals who take pain in creating fake virtual identities and hiding their real physical ones. For example a police officer seeking to hide and protect his professional identity would say that he is a young teenage girl for his virtual avatar on the internet.

One of the areas where new crimes are on the rise is Massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft (WoW), Second Life, Fifa and Runescape are some well-known MMOGs in English speaking countries. Even in countries like china there are MMOGs that are played a lot such as QQ. In these MMOGs, people are allowed to create avatars for themselves in order to interact in these virtual platforms. The things you can do in an MMOG are pretty much what you can do in the real physical life. In some cases, MMOGs offer fantasy characteristics and people can create avatars not only of a different age and gender but also even of a different species. This allows the users to do certain things even more in the virtual when compared to the real world. Users are allowed to interact and socialize via real time voice chat, even start a business for income and sell/buy goods.

With the popularity of these virtual worlds has come the existence of virtual currency which is created by the game designers to be used within the system. Some players love MMOGs so much that they value the virtual currency and therefore the manufacturers have made exchange rates with real world money. Others MMOGs like Fifa coins, are exclusively used for in the game and not as a form of currency for real financial exchanges, but still there are people who sell these Fifa coins on numerous illegal 3rd party web sites.

Cyber Criminals are abusing the new opportunities because of the change in technology and demand for the real world value of these virtual currencies to create scams and money laundering schemes. The criminals will continue to tamper and use illegal methods and ways to buy virtual currencies and then later on, exchange them for the real world money.

Not only are real world crimes taking place in the virtual world, but as individuals identities get less dependent on their physical existence and more into their own virtual avatars; a question is posed whether virtual crimes are in fact actual crimes.

Some experts are predicting that it may be a real and developing problem with crimes on the internet and the roles of the virtual world online. As unbelievable as it seems; the first case of ‘virtual’ rape has already taken place in New York in 1993. And you might be thinking that there are too many real rapes happening all around the world to even give priority to the virtual rape case. But this goes to show how rapidly the difference between the real and virtual worlds are disappearing, and raises at least the possibility that police may confront people who want action to be taken for the crimes against their virtual selves.


RCMP in Ontario, specifically the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have been greatly improving all their operations with the creation of a think tank. The think tank was established in October, 2011. The main purpose of the think tank was to serve as a platform to constantly get innovative ideas from all employees’. A group met quarterly only if that group involved members who were accepted as being champions of creative thought. To improve operations force on a wide scale; the groups would have discussions in which they would bring up ideas related to technology. In the very first issue of the think tank; three important ideas had come to light from its discussions.

  • Google Alerts                                                                                                   Sgt. John Mecher, from the Milton commercialized crime department brought Google Alerts to his unit. Google Alerts is used to automatically scan and find online open source information such as databases, websites, news sites or even social media for that matter to discover any important and valuable data and then transfer it directly to the investigators email inbox. The Sgt. Said he used Google Alerts to help in fighting in the national security, terror financing and counterfeit currency. Working in Counterfeit currency was when Google Alerts was the most useful, according to Sgt. Mecher because at the time, counterfeit was on the decline and did not require many seizures, so most of the evidence was reported in local newspapers because of the seizures being so small.
  • E911 Order                                                                                                       During the February of 2010, the Canadian radio television and telecommunications commission had authorized that all wireless service providers must update their 911 services in order for people that try to call 911 using a mobile device would then be able to be tracked and located. This was all good news for GTA drug section investigators as they could now use an E911 warrant to track any suspects using the GPS technology which is already installed in the suspects mobile device. Cst. Stephen Packham was among the first police officer to use the E911 warrant when he and a few other agents from the GTA drug section were trying to find a fugitive from America who was under the suspicion of selling marijuana to Canada since they did not have any home address to go by. Packham also says that it is way better and less burdensome as to having a tracking device physically installed on a suspect’s vehicle. “Since that case I’ve had a dozen people contact me from around Ontario on how to use E911,” Packham says. And with the constant progression in mobile devices and smart phones; “Within the next few years, older Phones will be more obsolete so it will make it easier to track somebody,” Packham says.
  • Communications technology                                                                           There are many smart phone applications now some of which allows individuals to send or receive text messages even without a mobile phone or text message plan while there are also some applications that enable people to digitally tamper their voices. As I said earlier, as technology advances, so do the crimes it assists. Detectives are keeping a close eye on users that use “spoofing” when they perform a call. Spoofing allows the user to hide their caller id information while making a call to someone and therefore hiding their identity. Also some mobile devices such as Blackberry, allows their customers to use this exclusive application called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) technology in order to prevent police officers efforts to intercept any conversations. All of the above technologies are currently having a strong impact on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigations in Ontario.

Social networking

Even though the New South Wales (NSW) Police department uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help offer information about any policing activities to its citizens, it also obtains important and useful intelligence through it. The NSW also uses social media to engage with the communities in South Wales by listening to them.

During November 2010 and May 2011, a small project team thought of enhancing the NSW law enforcement force by means of technology. The Result was based on a 1980’s developed program called the Neighborhood Watch program and is known as Project Eyewatch.

Project eyewatch is a platform for the delivery of information to the community of NSW utilizing Facebook as the network tool to create - 21st Century Neighbourhood Watch Communities. eyewatch will give community members the opportunity to participate in active crime prevention activities on line in their own homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Police NSW, 2013).

There are Several Advantages by using Social networking:

  • Gives the community greater access to police
  • Provides real time engagement
  • Seeks consensus on a problem
  • Provides accurate up to date information
  • Facilitates forums to find solutions
  • Creates an ability to provide feedback
  • Develops a high value community network

For the future, there is enough evidence from all over the world that social networking is the medium in which the public of the present generation and the future generations indicate that they want to be involved in.

Similarly in Europe there is also an online Centre that helps in the contribution of fighting Cyber Crime. It is Called European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) which is established at the Europol by the European commission. This centre will be focused mainly on fighting against cybercrime, resulting in faster reactions in the events of any online crimes.

EC3 had three specific areas that they were going to target after commencement of its centre on 1st January 2013:

  • That committed by organised groups to generate large criminal profits such as online fraud
  • That which causes serious harm to the victim such as online child sexual exploitation
  • That which affects critical infrastructure and information systems in the European Union


Almost all of the officers observed that the police had never had a formal ‘mission’ or statement of what exactly should they do. But always went back to “keep the peace, enforce the law, protect property and investigate crimes”. Some of the police respondents , both from inside and outside the organisation had mentioned about the Peelian principles and how important they are in guiding the way to the future and present day of police operations.

This Graph shows us all the Peelian Principles and how a survey among the respondents with regard to the principles being the future of policing do.

The below picture indicates how there will be a cutting down of police forces and most of the roles will be given responsibility to individuals from different professions because of the issue with the Peelian principles and how the majority doesn't agree with using them for the future generations to come.   

We also have some Movies that are lost somewhere in between Fantasy and Reality when trying to portrait the future of Policing.

BBC takes a go at predicting the future of policing.

From What Experts and Respondent officers are saying; there will be a significant decrease in Policing by 2020.


Some of the above information is based on research and what other experts and respondents are predicting on the future of policing. It may or may not be accurate since they are just assumptions of what could happen in the future if we were to keep proceeding in the direction that we are already in. As we Already know that technology is advancing drastically day by day and any technological advances at this point can completely change the way the future is going to turn out.


  • RCMP. (2014). Intelligence led policing in canada [image file]

Retrieved from http://images.slideplayer.us/2/720278/slides/slide_1.jpg

  • Wikipedia. (2013). Intelligence led Policing

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence-led_policing#Canada

  • Rand. (2011). National Security Research Division

Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1102.pdf

  • Social Identities. (2002). Cyber Crime [image file]

Retrieved from http://homepages.abdn.ac.uk/f.guerin/pages/teaching/CS5038/assessment/essays/essays_from_2006/groupC/Social%20Identities.html

  • Fifauteam. (2013). Fifa coin Generator Scam [image file]

Retrieved from http://www.fifauteam.com/fifa-ultimate-team-cheats/

  • Rcmp. (2013). Future of Policing

Retrieved from http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/gazette/vol75no1/images/vol75no1-eng.pdf

  • TheNSWPolice. (2011) Project Eyewatch [video file]

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6BxH9AhFt8

  • Europol. (2014). A collective Eu response to cyber crime

Retrieved from https://www.europol.europa.eu/ec3

  • Repubblica. (n.d). EC3 Logo [image file]

Retrieved from http://www.repubblica.it/images/2013/01/12/160827362-75fbf8a9-6879-4a61-b3d3-659ebb49ac16.jpg

  • WMTW-TV. (2013). Social Media makes Reporting Crimes Easier[video file]

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZOQIEx4iY0

  • PoliceExchange. (2011). Policing in 2020

Retrieved from http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/policing_2020_-_sep__11.pdf

  • ITelegraph. (n.d). Cyber attack [image file]

Retrieved from http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01805/cyberattack_1805164b.jpg