Quantum leap: RBPF exploring artificial intelligence in crime fight

OCT 02, 2021

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) could be on the verge of making another leap in the fight against crime in The Bahamas, with high-level meetings taking place this week with potential vendors and stakeholders in public safety artificial intelligence technology.

During a welcome and oath-swearing ceremony for nearly 100 new police recruits, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle told the men and women that his executive team was present with the exceptions of two assistant commissioner’s, including Assistant Commissioner Zhavargo Dames, “who’s representing me in another meeting trying to get some technology, additional technology for the Royal Bahamas Police Force”.

When contacted for specifics, Rolle told Eyewitness News: “We are doing some exploration with artificial intelligence.”

He did not expound on what area the AI technology could be used in or what it could potentially achieve in its use in The Bahamas.

Police Commissioner Paul Rolle (FILE PHOTO).

The use of AI in law enforcement is not uncommon in other jurisdictions with significant advances in recent years.

A Motorola Solutions and research team at Goldsmiths, University of London, published a report public this week that found an overwhelming majority of people in the United Kingdom wanted to see technology such as data analytics and artificial intelligence used to increase public safety.

More than three quarters of the 12,000 citizens surveyed wished to see emergency services use advanced technologies to predict risk, and around the same numbers believe technologies such as video cameras, data analytics, cybersecurity and the cloud are needed to address challenges in the modern world.

In The Bahamas, with cybercrime, including hacking, extortion, computer misuse and threats, increasing 33 percent in the year ending 2020 compared to the year prior, and a consistent number of complaints against police from members of the public (149 matters in 2020, compared to 152 in 2019), law enforcement officials turned to new technology such as body-worn cameras and dash-cams as part of the organization’s innovation to increase public safety and fight crime.

The RBPF has seen numerous technology innovations in recent years.

These included a $17 million unmanned drone program, which is still en-train; a $2 million long-range coastal radar system; a $3 million expansion of closed-circuit television; a $1.9 million ShotSpotter program; and nearly $1 million worth of body-worn cameras and dash cameras; among others.

In Australia, a trial is expected to begin using AI to determine the future risk posed by known domestic violence perpetrators, according to a September 16 publication in ‘The Conversation’.

In Bengaluru, a pilot project introducing artificial intelligence on the police force’s closed-circuit television network of 7,5000 cameras in the capital is expected to facilitate face-recognition technology and machine-learning-based video monitoring.

In the United Kingdom, police officers use algorithms such as facial-recognition tools to carry out law enforcement, comparing live camera feeds against a pre-determined watchlist.

The program has not been introduced without criticism.

In the 2021 policing plan, the commissioner noted that the Financial Crime Investigations Branch will use “cutting edge investigative tools and procedures” to disrupt the increased prevalence of financial crimes.

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