Police of the future
Digitalization police 2040
Police of the future - a blueprint
Streife editorial team

No one knows how the police profession will change by 2040. Of course there are tendencies, speculations and trends, and there are circumstances that are foreseeable, but at the same time there are so many imponderables that any prediction must always be speculative. One thing is clear: like society, the police are also undergoing radical change. The development of technology is more rapid than in any previous era. Being prepared for this and keeping pace with it is one of the biggest challenges for all security authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The "megatrend" par excellence is digitalization. It plays a key role in all areas of public life, including in matters of national security. "It's not a matter of adorning oneself with the title of digital; digitalization is not an end in itself. It must always be about making daily work noticeably easier," said Interior Minister Herbert Reul at the presentation of the new smartphones for the NRW police. 22,000 devices will have been delivered by the spring. Every police officer in the state who regularly works in the field now has access to a device and the corresponding specially developed apps. This makes the NRW police the best-equipped police force in Germany in this area.

The follow-up project is already underway and is significantly increasing the number of apps every quarter. Examples include replacing the digital camera, fingerprint identification and digital support for recording incidents. A fundamental paradigm shift is taking place with mobile working. In future, police officers will no longer come to the police station to use the technology, but the technology will come to the police officer. Processes will be completed directly on site and information will be available at all times. It is worth comparing this with technical developments outside the police force.

We are used to information being available anytime and anywhere. I no longer read and reply to an email when I'm at home in the evening, but directly when I'm on the move. Applied to the police, this means that in future much more information will be available on site and can also be processed: "Who am I looking at? Are there any outstanding warrants nearby? Where are my colleagues? Do we have any matches in our databases for the fingerprint on the window pane?" Denis Schubert, digitalisation expert in the Information and Communication Technology Policy Unit in the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior, is already busy answering these questions, as they will also be available directly on site in the future. "We are relieving the burden on police officers so that they have more time for their actual work: ensuring security and order," says Reul.

This is the stated aim of all considerations: To make the work of police officers more effective and easier. But of course, technological progress also poses new challenges in the fight against crime. Keyword: cybercrime and data analysis.

The IT process for "cross-database analysis and research - DAR" will access all police databases. This will create an integrated platform with a standardized user interface that will enable comprehensive evaluation and analysis. The LKA is set to go live as early as October, with other authorities following successively.

"SKALA", the crime analysis system, is also to be expanded. Since October 2019, a pilot test has been running to expand the system geographically. A new algorithm for calculating the risk profile is being piloted. If the results are positive, SKALA will be expanded to rural areas as quickly as possible. This should also benefit the public: Burglary risk information via app based on the data is planned for this year.

The transport sector will also change radically. Digitalization will become the central basis of tomorrow's mobility. One example is the area of Car2Car communication. Cars inform each other fully automatically about traffic conditions or warn each other of obstacles, exchange information about parking space capacities or approaching traffic jams. This not only increases road safety, but also optimizes the overall flow of traffic. The introduction of automated and networked driving systems in road traffic is coming. Autonomous shuttle buses are already being used in test areas.

Technology will significantly change road traffic and, of course, have a corresponding impact on the work of the police. Examples of this include the preservation of evidence in traffic accidents, traffic monitoring, hacking vehicles from the outside, influencing driving decisions and even remote control of vehicles. The police must meet this trend head-on.

Safety is a key aspect here. New procedures and processes must be developed in order to make this safe and at the same time ensure data protection. This requires joint control. Everything must be brought together in one place. The police have the challenge of mastering the complexity of the overall issue, bundling competencies, improving the innovative capacity of the police organization, setting up cross-divisional processes across all core tasks in the long term and "taking our path to digitalization", says Denis Schubert in a nutshell.

The Ministry of the Interior's cooperation with the German Aerospace Center, the Fraunhofer Institute and IT industry associations is also intended to help. The possibilities for cooperation range from the use of artificial intelligence in the evaluation of digital data to the use of drones in various areas of police operations.


Translated with DeepL.com (API Version)
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