Gilad Ben Ziv , VP Business Evangelist
July 10, 2024

Addressing Top Police Force Challenges in 2024

Police officers operate in a high stakes environment, often dealing with stress, danger and complex situations. Their work involves navigating threatening circumstances and making split second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death.

In 2024, law enforcement officers face significant challenges that further complicate their already demanding roles. These challenges include large workloads, staff shortages, difficulties in building community trust, and a rise in cyber and cross border crimes.

While addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, technology solutions can significantly enhance efficiency, derive actionable insights from complex data, optimize the allocation of resources and staff, and ensure a more effective approach to overcoming policing problems

Recruitment and Retention

Staff shortages are a familiar challenge in law enforcement, as departments deal with resignations, retirements and the need to train new hires. For example, in 2023, a significant increase in police officers voluntarily leaving their jobs was reported in the UK with 4,668 resigning voluntarily, representing the highest number recorded in the past 16 years. This represents a 32% increase compared to the previous year.

Insufficient staffing levels mean that existing officers are often overworked, leading to decreased efficiency and burnout. Additionally, tight budgets can often hinder the ability to provide training, which is essential for officers to stay up to date with the latest policing technologies.

Technology solutions can help address these challenges in various ways:

Reduction of manual work: Video and image analytics can automatically identify and flag suspicious objects, weapons or violent behavior in public safety security camera footage, removing the need for human personnel to monitor the footage. This allows for faster officer response to a crime scene and more effective resource deployment. This is just one way tech can help reduce manual work.  

Automated case management systems also play a role in streamlining law enforcement operations. These digital tools handle evidence collection, case tracking and reporting among officers and investigators. By reducing or automating paperwork and administrative tasks, officers can concentrate on higher value duties like investigations and community engagement. These systems improve efficiency, minimize mistakes, and improve communication within law enforcement agencies. 

Smarter allocation of staff: Law enforcement officials can use crime analysis software for smarter resource allocation and strategic planning. Police can leverage crime analysis software to analyze crime trends and as a result allocate more personnel and resources to high crime areas, adjust patrol routes, and deploy Smart City cameras and sensors more effectively.  

Information Overload 

As criminals adopt increasingly sophisticated tactics to conduct crimes and to evade detection, law enforcement teams struggle to keep up. They face a flood of urgent cases and vast amounts of data, all while under constant pressure to resolve those cases quickly. Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) emerges as a critical capability for investigators and analysts, enabling them to analyze data from all layers of the web to uncover suspicious activities and critical clues for investigations. 

With technology and data rapidly advancing, policing now requires officers skilled in data science, data engineering, coding and statistics. However, there is a significant shortage of these skills. Additionally, law enforcement agencies struggle to retain skilled analysts due to more lucrative opportunities in other sectors.  

Decision intelligence platforms offer a transformative solution by bridging the gap between an overwhelming influx of data and the critical need for data driven decision-making. A decision intelligence platform enables officers to derive valuable insights from complex data even without specialized skills. This approach allows law enforcement to combine all relevant data sources into one holistic view, visualize data, and generate actionable insights such as suspicious patterns, trends, hidden connections and new investigation leads.  

Decision intelligence platforms allow investigators and analysts, not just academics or data scientists, to harness the power of AI and analytics effectively for police work. 

Community Relations

As societies grow increasingly diverse, police must adapt to varied cultural norms, languages and community expectations. Building and maintaining trust with diverse community groups poses multifaceted challenges. Technology can play a crucial role in building trust between law enforcement agencies and their local communities, but only if approached thoughtfully and with a community-minded perspective. Otherwise, it risks exacerbating existing tensions and challenges in community relations.

Law enforcement can engage community stakeholders to build digital trust by using technology in a more transparent way and involving the community in decision-making, thereby fostering accountability and enhancing community confidence. Collaborating on smart city technology allows citizens to influence the future of policing and their community. Deploying emerging technologies to address long-standing crime challenges and improve public safety demonstrates a commitment to community well-being.

As AI use increases, concerns about its potentially negative impact grow. Consequently, demands are rising for enterprises and government organizations across all sectors to adopt a Responsible AI approach. Law enforcement authorities are increasingly adopting AI-powered tools and platforms. Due to growing calls for adopting Responsible AI principles, authorities must ensure that any AI systems they use, whether developed in-house or by external vendors, adhere to Responsible AI principles.

Authorities will need to focus on considerations around privacy, reliability, model explainability and governance in their AI systems — both when selecting solutions from external vendors and when developing solutions internally. Authorities must ensure that AI-powered systems deployed support a Responsible AI approach by guarding against bias, ensuring transparency and implementing guardrails against negative outcomes.

The more police forces use AI, the greater the demand will be for them to adopt Responsible AI practices, making it not just an ethical choice but a requirement. The implementation of ethical guidelines and transparency strengthens community trust.

Cybercrime

Cybercrime poses a growing threat around the world, manifesting in increased cyber attacks, online fraud, and more.  In the past year, there were 343 million victims of cybercrime worldwide. The effects of the geopolitical situation in Ukraine could be seen with a barrage of cyber attacks in the EU where a significant number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, often coordinated by pro-Russian hacker groups, affected national and regional public institutions. This was highlighted in Europol’s Internet Organized Crime Threat Analysis (IOCTA) 2023 report.   

Technology, government, financial, healthcare and telecom sectors were the top 5 industries targeted by threats in 2023. These industries also made up the top 5 in 2022, according to a Cognyte report.

Cybercriminals were the leading threat actors in 2023, with a significant rise in financially motivated ransomware attacks worldwide, the Cognyte report said. Notably, 50% of documented attacks were driven by financial incentives, underscoring the allure of profit in cybercrime. 

Ransomware remains a significant threat, causing substantial damage to enterprises and organizations. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) platforms are driving this threat, providing a model where threat actors can use existing ransomware to conduct profitable attacks. These attacks typically involve encrypting files on targeted networks and systems, with different groups or individuals managing the ransom demands and tactics. In some cases, ransomware groups threaten to leak stolen data on Dark Web extortion sites if victims refuse to pay, adding additional pressure to comply with ransom demands. 

Police agencies must adopt advanced threat intelligence solutions to enhance capabilities in monitoring all layers of the Web, including dark web forums and sites, and mitigating diverse types of cyber attacks and threats. 

Cross border crime

Transnational crime organizations exploit sophisticated global networks, making it difficult for local or even national police forces to tackle these issues alone. A conservative estimate by the United Nations has said that transnational organized crime generates as much as $870 million a year.

Law enforcement agencies have dedicated significant resources to tackling cross border crime. Despite their efforts, the dynamic nature of organized crime has enabled it to evade dismantlement and sustain prolonged disruption. Today, organized crime operates in a fluid, networked manner, linking individual criminal operators and smaller groups through information brokers and contract facilitators. These networks are bolstered by service providers offering expertise in law, finance, logistics, and other specialized fields, enhancing their operational capabilities. Adding to the complexity, these crime groups operate across multiple criminal domains, rather than being siloed in one criminal domain such as drugs, property crime, trafficking, etc. Over 40% of the organized crime groups investigated are involved in more than one criminal activity, according to Europol’s Serious & Organized Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) report.

In addition, the crime-terror nexus is increasingly significant, with organized crime networks often linking up with terror groups, posing new challenges for law enforcement and necessitating enhanced intelligence and international cooperation.

Source: Europol SOCTA report

Cryptocurrencies

The rise of cryptocurrencies has introduced new challenges for law enforcement. Criminals exploit cryptocurrencies to launder money, facilitate cross border transactions and fund illicit activities. Cryptocurrencies provide anonymity, decentralization and global accessibility, making them attractive tools for criminals.  

To combat this, international collaboration is crucial. Agencies must share intelligence, track crypto flows, and trace illicit transactions across borders. Sophisticated blockchain analytics tools help investigators follow the money, identify patterns and dismantle criminal networks. By staying ahead of technological advancements, law enforcement can disrupt crypto-enabled crime and protect communities.  

Technology solutions play an important role in helping law enforcement officials overcome police force challenges, offering AI-driven capabilities like decision intelligence, blockchain analytics, threat intelligence, and more. Harnessing these solutions can help police optimize resources and staff, tackle emerging threats, and bolster public safety efforts more effectively.  

Click here to learn more about how these solutions can help address police force challenges.  

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Gilad Ben Ziv , VP Business Evangelist

Gilad Ben Ziv has over 30 years of experience in the Intelligence Division of the Prime Minister's Office in Israel, holding a rank equivalent to Brigadier General. Gilad has an extensive background in intelligence, counterterrorism and homeland security, including on the ground experience in special operations, intelligence gathering and eliminating terror threats. As VP Business Evangelist at Cognyte, Gilad is responsible for helping law enforcement, national security, national intelligence and military organizations to hone their intelligence strategies and technology plans, through a profound understanding of their needs, challenges and threats.
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