Embracing AI for a Safer Future: Revolutionising Law Enforcement with Advanced Technology

Share This Post

Dr. Liam Owens, Founder and CEO of Stafford-England-based Semantics 21, explores how artificial intelligence is changing the face of law enforcement.

Dr. Liam Owens, Founder and CEO of Semantics 21

In an era where technology is rapidly evolving and changing the world, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into law enforcement work is not just a possibility but a necessity. The transformative power of AI offers unparalleled opportunities to enhance public safety, streamline operations, and build stronger, more connected communities. By embracing AI, law enforcement agencies can usher in a new age of efficiency in all areas of modern policing. In particular, AI systems can produce insights and recommendations, to help law enforcement officers make informed decisions during investigations and operational planning, for instance.

One example of law enforcement areas, where AI is revolutionising the ways of working, is digital forensics. AI is speeding up investigations and enhancing their quality, by helping investigators to effectively and efficiently examine and identify digital evidence contained in pictures (image or video data), written text (data in emails, written documents, etc), or audio files (data in the form of speech or other sounds). Another example is crime mapping, where machine learning technology is assisting in strategic planning and community policing efforts, by analysing patterns of crime, geographically or over time, and helping to produce maps of crimes and to predict seasonal or other trends in criminal activity. Needless to say, I could give many other examples, but I have limited myself to just two, to keep the length of this article within reasonable limits.

As illustrated above, AI-driven technologies are revolutionising the way law enforcement agencies predict, prevent, and respond to criminal activities. Additionally, AI can facilitate more efficient investigations, whilst also safeguarding the mental wellbeing of the investigators, especially those involved in investigations of sensitive or distressing cases. The wellbeing of law enforcement officers is paramount to maintaining a functional and effective police force. AI can help to achieve this by monitoring the activities of the investigator while they are working on a case. Specifically, the AI collects data and analyses patterns or trends, to help law enforcement agencies assess and manage the exposure, of each investigator, to mentally-harmful material. 

I need to point out that although AI is delivering significant benefits in law enforcement, it has also raised concerns about privacy (in relation to face recognition technology, for example), bias (particularly in the context of predictive policing, whereby AI can be used to predict potential threats posed by individuals), and accountability (in relation to where the blame should lie, in case the AI malfunctions, for example). These issues have attracted the attention of governments, and of developers of AI-based solutions, across the globe. 

I was recently invited to the House of Lords, as an expert in the field of AI in policing, to share my views, as a champion of modernisation in policing, including through the use of AI in digital investigations, provided that such AI is deployed responsibly and transparently, to address the concerns summarised above. Safeguards towards addressing the concerns include providing clear guidelines on usage, conducting regular audits, and apportioning accountability for providers of law enforcement software. As with all new and developing technologies, it is imperative that the correct technology assessments are carried out; the technology should not simply be taken at face value, because of clever marketing, for example. 

AI is also causing fears that it would take over jobs, by replacing humans. This isn’t true, however a human using AI will almost definitely replace a human who isn’t. I am an advocate of utilising AI in law enforcement, not to replace humans, but to increase the productivity and reliability of operations which include humans in the workflow, in such a way that the machine does the mundane and heavy-lifting work and human capabilities (such as ingenuity and intuition) take care of the rest. 

The integration of AI in law enforcement represents a significant leap towards a safer, more efficient, and transparent future in law enforcement. By harnessing the power of AI, law enforcement agencies can enhance their ability to protect, serve, and build stronger and more resilient communities. However, as we navigate the complexities of modern policing, it is essential to embrace these technological advancements with a commitment to ethical use, privacy protection, and continuous improvement.

Together, we can create a future where technology and human ingenuity work hand in hand to ensure justice, safety, and peace for all.

Where to learn more? 

For more information about Semantics 21, visit www.semantics21.com. Also, watch the on-demand webinar “Tools to Help Law Enforcement Identify & Rescue More CSAM Victims” here.

More Articles


Navigating SEC Regulations In Cybersecurity And Incident Response

Free video resource for cybersecurity professionals. As 2024 approaches, we all know how vital it is to keep up to date with regulatory changes that affect our work. We get it – it’s a lot to juggle, especially when you’re in the trenches working on an investigation, handling, and responding to incidents.