Engaging Citizens in The Fight against Insurgency, and other Violent Crimes
FCT Police Command conduct soft launch of technology for community policing to stem the tide of criminal activities – an IGP project
In this age, the task of ensuring security is one that necessarily involves every citizen. However the task of engaging the citizens in the effort to combat the rising incidence of crime must now extend beyond mere placing calls to 911,411, 112 or 767. Indeed, across the world, several countries today now rely on CCTV camera to capture image of perpetrators or citizen journalist on mobile phones. For instance, the 911 hijackers in the United States, terrorists apprehended across Europe were identified not by 911 or 411 calls but by video captured by CCTV and increasingly by citizens on their mobile phones.
Nigeria, the largest economic in sub-Saharan Africa, unfortunately, has never successfully deployed CCTV in any part of the country. Every effort to deploy CCTV has been stalled by bureaucracy, hampered by unscrupulous contractors and where installed, it is quickly vandalized. Thus, Nigeria is unable to utilize this veritable tool for security of lives and properties.
The police undoubtedly need all the help it can get in its quest to fulfill its obligation to curb crime. Several suggestions have been proffered including deploying advanced policing technology, increasing the number of men and officers, providing improved package and better equipment.
Last week in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the FCT Command of Nigeria Police announced the soft launch of Hawk Eye Crime Reporter, an IGP Ibrahim Idris project, demonstrating the seriousness of the Police to employ citizens in the fight against insurgency and other violent crimes. IGP Ibrahim Idris is expected to announce the full launch of the project. The objective of the launch is to enable Police and citizens beta test the solution in FCT. iPolice-Hawk Eye Crime Reporter is widely regarded as one of the most advanced crime reporting and management system in the world today. It is an end to end revolutionary security application that may well be the new and advanced generation of the 911, 411 or our local 211 systems. A commendable achievement by the IGP.
Launching the Hawk Eye Crime Reporting System is one of the smartest thing the Nigeria Police have done in a long time. The application combines today’s advance technologies, human behavior and practices into a crime reporting system. A very effective way to engage citizen in the fight against insurgency and other violent crimes. According to the police during the launching at FCT Police Command the application has three parts – Hawk Eye Crime Reporter for Citizens, Solar Powered Police Command Centers and Mobile Device Terminal for Patrol Teams.
Service is now available in Abuja, and is expected to also launch in Lagos with a planned roll out across the country to commence by year end
The Hawk Eye Crime Reporter for Citizen is a mobile app for users to report crime and it is downloadable free from Google and iTunes app store. It is a two-step reporting application, which allow citizens to select the type of crime they want to report, and the option to “Call for Help”, “Request Immediate Response” by capturing video/image of the ongoing crime, or simply “File Report” all on the mobile app. An important and critical feature that would help its success with citizens is that reporting is ANONYMOUS; the system does not capture the user’s information, phone number or any other or detail.
Solar Powered Police Command Centers: Once citizens begin to adopt and use the application, solar powered command and control centers are manned 24/7 to receive reports and for dispatching. The Command Center has map view and location of all patrol vehicles within two kilometers of the crime report received. This tool allows police to dispatch patrol teams efficiently and rapidly. Command and Control center dispatchers can view video or image of crimes reported by citizens and advise patrol teams appropriately.
Mobile Device Terminal for Patrol Teams: Every patrol vehicle can now be equipped with Mobile Device Terminal so that Officers and Patrol teams can receive dispatch and file crime reports from the field. Statement can be taken from suspects, complainants and witnesses. Officer can now capture photo of suspects, arrested criminal or collect photo evidence. The Nigeria Police Force can begin to compile a criminal database. Officers in the field can conduct facial recognition search (provided by Microsoft) of criminals and to apprehend wanted persons especially those running across states. Every crime reported and dispatched are now digitally visible along the chain of command all the way to Force HQ. Nigerians can begin to develop confidence that any arrest registered on the tablet can be monitored across the chain of command, making officers accountable.
To ensure performance, the Mobile Device Terminal monitors power source and network strength of the devices and alert command room to make sure officers are available always to respond to dispatched crimes.
If the objective is Community policing, the Nigeria Police is set to truly empower citizens with the launch of the Hawk Eye Crime Reporter.
The system has an enterprise crime management tools such as Global Announcement that would allow police to communicate with the public in times of emergency or police action, send information, images of wanted criminals, missing person or kidnapping suspects to the public for reporting.
A significant step that should be taken by police at this point would be to integration the 211 emergency number currently provided by the NCC into the Hawk Eye Crime Reporter “Call for Help” feature. It would harmonize the entire emergency response system for the country.This is the logical next step in the effort to curb crime. The Nigeria Police should give this integration priority.
Why is the call for integration urgent? Like in most other advance countries it will remove the burden of the cost of making such calls from the shoulders of the citizens. This is because as currently constituted Hawk Eye Mobile app does offer voice calls with “Call for Help” feature, but it will be at a cost to users. The 211 is a toll-free call and when it is integrated with the Hawk Eye Crime Reporter mobile app would serve as a national emergency number, ‘Call for Help’ on Hawk Eye Mobile app will be free to users.
The integration will result one of the most advanced Emergency Response System in the world. A major accomplishment for Nigeria Police Force and the first time an African nation will be lead the rest of the world on innovative technology solution.
Clearly, whatever else may be said about the Nigeria Police, the deployment of Hawk Eye is a demonstration of the commitment of the Force under the IGP Ibrahim Idris to work in partnership with the public to continue to improve the security situation across the country. According to IGP Ibrahim Idris “This will help us fight kidnapping incidents that are happening across the country, when notified we can quickly close off escape routes to kidnappers when reports are received from citizens”
The complete solution, includes free app for citizens, solar powered command centers and mobile device terminal are donated to the police by Lagos based tech firm Web Assets Nigeria Limited, in partnership with US based tech firms BBGN&K. Tech giant Microsoft which provides the facial recognition technology to Web Assets. Web Asset will deliver the Hawk Eye Crime Reporter, the iPolice tablets with solar powered command and control centers to Nigeria Police State Commands in all 36 states and the FCT.
Hawk Eye has good potential, but Nigerian must embrace it. Unless citizens support police efforts and give it a chance, crime will continue to invade the quality of life of communities across the nation. The strongest feature is that it engages citizens at an intimate level and empowers them to collaborate with the police. This is precisely what is required to counter insurgencies and criminal activities in this digital age.
The Hawk Eye mobile phone app is available for free download on Google App and IOS stores. It is also available in English and Native languages (English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin).
Download HawkEye App, on Google play store via: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=crimereporting.hawk.security
DOWNLOAD HAWK EYE APP ON PLAYSTORE
for more info visit: www.hawkeyecrimereporter.com
To learn more on how it works, see videos on Youtube at: Hawk Eye Crime Reporter Crime Manager
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