The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abiodun Alabi, has said that technology would play a crucial role in modern policing and providing arrays of opportunities to bring perpetrators of crime to justice effectively.
Alabi made this known during a three-day conference organised by Securex West Africa at Landmark Centre on Tuesday in Lagos.
The theme of the event was “Public Safety: The challenge of securing public spaces and the role of technology and law enforcement.”
The Commissioner, who was represented by Chief Superintendent of Police, Taiwo Oyewale, DPO Bar Beach Division, Victoria Island said technology would also play an important role in providing effective, robust intelligence gathering and dissemination.
He said, “The advancement of the society has required that the police need to be more innovative, efficient with better equipped systems and modern technological tools in order to adequately provide the services and security that people desire.
“Unfortunately, the criminal fraternity at all levels have quickly grasped cutting-edge technology. This has become a challenge to overcome when dealing with organised crime and terrorism, which have both become a global phenomena in no small part due to technological innovation.
“The role of technology in the creation of insecurity and crime is growing as new technologies emerge and without a doubt a major influence on all aspects of human environment.
“Technology in some aspects of policing in Nigeria is undoubtedly a huge achievement in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), with tremendous successes in the fight against organised and violent criminality.
“This is evident in the successful arrest of notorious criminals, through tracking and geo-location of their hideouts and rescuing of abducted victims of kidnappings,” Alabi said.
He, however, said that the employment of technology in policing, mostly in developing democracies such as Nigeria, came with a litany of challenges, which negatively impacts on its effective utilisation and optimal results.
Alabi said that one of the challenges was built-in or planned obsolescence on police technology in Nigeria which was quite huge and crippling because of the inability of the NPF to continuously maintain, acquire and upgrade to newer technologies.
He said that another issue was capacity building, noting that new technologies demanded regular training in order to cope with the ever-changing modes of criminality and ways of investigating and containing such crimes through the employment of technology.
Alabi said that another challenge was funding of the NPF and its ability to keep pace with new and evolving police technologies through constant trainings and retraining of its personnel.
He said, “Some of the modern police technologies currently deployed by the NPF in its operations were donated by foreign governments and international partners as support to improve police services to the Nigerian society.”
Alabi said the truth was that most of the modern police technologies were costly and the present budget of the NPF could only afford to acquire just very few of them.
He said institutional challenges of redeployment of trained personnel to another command could as well scuttle the efficient deployment of technology in policing Nigeria.