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The Latest Modern Advances In Police Technology

GPS Bullets

Policing in America has just gotten a little more James Bond (or Batman if you prefer). GPS bullets, the new technology that allows police to track a suspect’s car, are exactly what one would wish them to be. The bullets are designed to be used during police pursuits so that suspects’ vehicle location can easily be monitored and tracked. As if from the mind of Ian Fleming himself, the system works by hitting a button inside the police car that triggers a lid to pop up and shoot a GPS bullet at the car direct in front of it, to which it sticks.

The great advantage of this new tracking technology is that it makes it practically impossible to escape the law through a high speed pursuit. Once the GPS bullet is attached to a suspect’s car, the police can track it remotely wherever it goes in real time. This provides the police with greater safety, as they are not required to engage in a long and dangerous car chase.This is an important tactic for the police. We’ve already made a difference, from rescuing little girls from human trafficking to stopping drivers under the influence,” said Trevor Fischbach, president of StarChase.

The system is called Starchase, and it is being used in a number of US states, including Iowa, Florida, Arizona and Colorado. The firm behind it is already showing interest in bringing the system to the UK. However, it isn’t cheap. Each unit costs $5,000 (€4422) to install, and each bullet costs $500 (€442). Missing the target could be costly in more than one way.

Police Cars with Facial Recognition

In China, researchers at University of Electronic Science and Technology has have created a high-tech police car that will use facial recognition technology to help officers track criminals. They claim that the facial recognition software will work even while the car is travelling at up to 120 kilometres per hour (75mph).

Much like the google street view car, the new Chinese police car is mounted with a 360- degree camera on the roof. The vehicle, which was unveiled in the city of Chengdu, automatically scans faces within a 60m radius, and alerts officers if it spots any suspects. The technology, if it works accordingly, would be incredibly useful in identifying suspected criminals in the population-heavy country. Scanned faces would be checked against faces in the police database until a match was made. The system can determine the gender, age and race of each face, making it a useful tool for tracking known fugitives but also, worryingly, increasing the risk of discriminative policing.

“As long as you get at least three-quarters of the face, you can make an ID,” Yin Guangqiang, director of the Police Equipment Joint Research Lab, said. He also added that the system was able to recognise licence plate numbers as well as car types, and can be set to scan for just “one type of person”.

In addition to face and car scanning, the vehicle is also equipped with sensors in the trunk that can alert officer if any of its 39 pieces of police equipment have gone missing. The vehicle is scheduled to be road tested later this year when China host the G-20 Summit being held in the coastal city of Hangzhou.

Police Tablets

In the UK police have begun using new mobile devices, dubbed ‘phablets’, that allow them to spend more time patrolling the streets and less time tied to their desks. The new equipment enables the police to perform duties such as recording incidents and running vehicle checks while they are on the scene, without having to call the communications office. It also allows officer to receive images of missing or wanted persons while they are out on patrol in local communities.

In Northumbria alone, 3,652 phablets are being used by police. The technology has enabled police to respond quicker to reports of crime throughout the region, giving police officers all the resources they need to perform their entire job while on patrol. Northumbria is not the first police force to use mobile devices, but they are among the first to develop their own software to meet their requirements. Each device has been equipped with an app called Police Box, provides frontline officers with all the resources and information that they require. The app was developed by Kimodo ltd., who used focus groups of officers to help them design the most intuitive and useful system possible.

The introduction of the devices is only part of the current Northumbrian Chief Constable’s plan to invest in the future of his police force. Northumbria was also one of the first forces in the UK to introduce an Electronic Custody Recording (ECR) system to make their custody suites more efficient. The new technology saw detention officers handed tablets which have assisted in improved detainee welfare and a more efficient custody process. As a result officers have been able to spend less time booking in detainees and more time policing their local neighbourhoods


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