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OPINION: THE USE OF SMART TECHNOLOGY FOR PUBLIC SECURITY BY THE NIGERIA POLICE BROADCASTING SERVICE (NPBS)

Information and communications technology has become indispensable to our modern life, we critically depend on information and communications infrastructure in planning our personal lives, our societies, business activities and running critical infrastructures.

This is the simple reason why governments of the world are embracing the concept of “Smart Technology” especially in the management of energy, water, transportation, waste, surveillance, modern security threats etc.

‘Smart cities’ have moved from being just a buzzword, to reality, the evolution began at the turn of the last century and it has got to its next stage. As more governments begin to adopt “smart” concepts, some find it challenging to keep pace with the rapid changes the digital world bring with it, along with the consequent evolution of their service delivery models.

Early warning prognosis and detection of breaches are the things that will determine if one is in a state of readiness, meaning that the emphasis of cyber security has improved to encapsulate Threat Intelligence. A state of readiness to deal with cyber-attacks requires behaviors that are thoughtful, considered and collaborative. No organization or government can ever predict or prevent all (or even most) attacks; but can reduce its attractiveness as a target, increase their resilience and limit damage from any given attack.

Public security is a growing concern for big cities worldwide. Tailored apps can provide Police and emergency services with new technologies to fight crime and make cities safer.

VIDEO ANALYTICS

There exists a solid infrastructure of closed-circuit TV (CCTV) in most cities across the globe, comprising public and private-owned systems. Historically, these have been used retrospectively to examine crime scenes for evidence. But cities such as the ones found in Nigeria are lagging behind in piloting programs to apply predictive analytics to video feeds. Public safety and security are top priorities for Nigeria at this time in our national lives.

Video analytics is the capability of automatically analyzing videos to detect certain objects, behavior, spatial and temporal events. This is used in a wide range of domains, including entertainment, health care, surveillance, home automation etc. These Video Analytics tools can be used with a wide range of modules for various purposes and can work as a proactive monitoring tool, triggering alarms to signal immediate attention of concerned teams.

Nigerian cities are bursting at the seams, civic resources are under pressure and crime is harder than ever to police. As it stands, most video surveillance technology is inefficient. Police investigations are often hampered by blind spots in video networks and low-quality imagery or not installed completely.

Issues with data storage and retrieval mean incident data is usually slow to reach command staff, and data loss can derail investigations altogether. However, new technology is starting to become available to help Police combat crime more effectively.

COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK

With smart devices aligned to private broadband network, officers can pick up a live feed of a shop theft from CCTV, say, before they even arrive at the scene, or of criminals in flight from cameras fixed to patrol cars or drones in the vicinity.  In practice, it means Police Agencies can have ‘eyes’ where they didn’t before. It also means Police can store and organize surveillance data in the cloud, access, share and query it with greater ease and accuracy. Sophisticated analytics tools improve their ability to identify, classify and match stored videos.

An intelligent video analysis platform can be established to manage video resources and meet a variety of service needs, including real-time surveillance, video browsing, data sharing and evidence collection. The new system has boosted Police collaboration, coordination, and decision-making thereby improving response times.

CONCEPT ADOPTION

This part is relatively easy, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris is a progressive to the core and also a lover of technological innovations, owing largely to the fact that he was Nigeria’s representative at the INTERPOL’s headquarters in Paris for several years and so, has been exposed to policing at the highest level in the world. It was no surprise when Mr. Edirin Jerry Wesley, a renowned businessman of international repute, who did not take flight and run from the country when it was faced with security challenges at the onslaught of Boko Haram, decided to join up with the Nigerian Police to tackle the menace of insecurity in Nigeria.

Ironically, Mr. Edirin Jerry Wesley, who happens to be a British citizen, did not take the easy way out, he stayed back in Nigeria and resolved to help mold his fatherland, Nigeria to a safe haven for all and sundry. He has dedicated his time to researching and making available adequate security-related infrastructure in Nigeria via his company, Skytick Global Technology Limited, the culmination of these efforts have mutated in the Nigerian Police Broadcasting Service (NPBS). The slogan and mantra of this media outfit is See Something, Say Something and this does not exempt members of the Nigerian Police and how they discharge their duties.

HOW WILL THIS WORK, REALLY?

At the heart of this innovative project is the National Emergency Communication Command Control Centre (NEC4 System) which is going to be situated at the National Information Centre in Abuja, concurrently too, all the 36 states of the Federation will be hosts to similar Emergency Communication platforms as mentioned above.

The Nigerian Police Department’s patrol cars, helicopters and other devices will be equipped with computers and software which will allow Police officers to view calls for service and access geo-mapping technology at the same time too.

The Nigerian Police Department can implement a new service for citizens to file non-emergency police reports online. This initiative is proven to reduce call volume for Police Department’s personnel which allows for additional directed patrol.

Computer Aided Dispatch is the backbone of most Police Departments’ Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and helps the agency improve situational awareness and reduce response times. Police CAD provides real-time access to information. All data entered into CAD can be accessed and shared between mobile, reduce repetitive data entry and streamline operations.

Data mining is also used to prevent crime and manage police operations, “smart cities” are using statistical analysis and predictive modelling to identify crime trends and highlight “hidden” connections between disparate events and trends. This helps Police gain a more complete picture of crime, predict patterns of future criminal behavior and identify the key causal factors of crime in their area.

The NPBS has concluded plans and arrangements to own and operate Digital TV, FM Radio Stations (starting with Lagos and Abuja) and a trendy yet security focused web presence that will be online 24/7 all year round. This set-up will allow the NPBS in direct conjunction with the Nigerian Police deploy and dispense justice while it is still hot.

Because the TV Stations and FM Radio Stations will also be transmitted in local languages, NPBS anticipates a massive dip in the rate of crime commission across the nation, which would stem from the high level of sensitization, when citizens know that when they SEE SOMETHING, they should SAY SOMETHING

Because the entire populace would be availed the equal opportunity of use of this service, even in anonymous modes, the Nigerian Police will have the opportunity to sample Nigerians’ thoughts and opinions, raw and in copious numbers.

The unbridled privilege of this great insight on the part of the Nigerian Police cannot be overemphasized. In fact, the current IGP Ibrahim Idris, due to his exposure, has an unwavering belief that ICT and smart technology has a gargantuan role to play in effective policing of any country, especially, his beloved country, Nigeria. To further bolster this claim, NPBS, has been conceptualized as far back as 2012 but never saw the light of day, after three successive failed attempts, largely set back by erstwhile leadership of the Nigerian Police, it didn’t take the pragmatic and creatively-inclined IGP Ibrahim Idris long to embrace this project and give it a nod.

DIVERGENT APPLICATIONS:

The uniqueness of the project NPBS brings will allow the different media to be tweaked on-the-go, what this means on one hand is that the NPBS via its TV, Radio, website and social media platforms will afford the Nigerian Police the means to tell its own story by itself, generally speaking, mass media has not been fair in its news coverage and has mostly shared sometimes exaggerated news concerning the Nigerian Police’s officers and their activities, on the other hand; members of the public will be able to use the various platforms to report past and ongoing crimes, incidences, anonymously blow whistles of unscrupulous citizens.

In conjunction with giant Security Intelligence outfit; Skytick Technology Global Limited and global brands such as HUAWEI and Hytera, NPBS is set on the right path and will immensely impact on land, waterways and border security in ways we can start drooling about.

Across national security agencies such as the Police, Army, Navy, Airforce, Civil Defense, Customs and Immigration, security-related information can be shared at a whim, the application of this multi-faceted project is mind-boggling.

Take as an example, according to the media, an eyewitness report claims that on January 2nd 2018, a herd of Fulani men shot at residents of Akor village in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, killing over twenty persons in the wake of the attack, whereas the intelligence reports made available to the Nigerian Police says contrary, IGP Ibrahim Idris in an interview said it was purely a communal clash and will deploy Police officers to douse the tension there, so therefore, wrong information in public purview can spark unnecessary unrest and malevolent destruction of lives and properties.

The illegal activities of IPOB in the south–eastern part of Nigeria, notorious ritual murders by the gang known as Badoo in Ikorodu; Lagos, Advanced Fee Fraud also known as 419, bribery, human rights abuse, Internet scam by the so called “yahoo” boys, Stock Exchange insider trading, smuggling, fatal car crashes, unnecessary justice delay, extra judicial killings, communal clashes, illegal road blocks, ballot box snatching at election polling booths, destructive associations by our youths in universities (Cultism), loss of national revenue owing to Tax Evasion, Power Meter circumnavigating, hoarding of foreign exchange, illegal petroleum refineries etc. All these societal vices can be nipped in the bud only if we are observant and opt-in to SAY SOMETHING, every time we SEE SOMETHING wrong being perpetrated.

Very important and key Government agencies, Government Parastatals, the Military, Private Businesses, citizens alike will be impacted by this innovative service when fully integrated in our society.

INEC’s job will be made efficiently easy and reduce the number of petitions to be attended to because electoral malpractices can be captured via handheld mobile devices and uploaded or streamed immediately online via NPBS’ media infrastructure. Ekiti State’s gubernatorial elections are just around the corner, it is going to be another test of resolve in our daily lives, a test to see if we are resolute about having a free and fair elections, a test to see if we going to let thugs have a field day as usual. See Something, Say Something!

Remember the recently recovered funds in multiple currencies stashed away at a home in Ikoyi? Nigeria will witness more of that kind of whistle blowing by concerned citizens which in turn will make the job of anti-graft agencies like the EFCC and ICPC smoother and encourage citizens to send more tips to curtail vices that are inimical to the financial growth of Nigeria. See Something, Say Something!

How about the impunity with which some employers withhold certain amount of money from staff salaries without remitting same into the coffers of government, all in the name of ‘tax’, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) certainly has a thing or two to say about stuffs like this. Countries that are doing well as regards its revenue and GDP have a tight taxation policy and adherence is vitally knitted to its success. See Something, Say Something!

The Fire Fighting agency unknown to many, is under the purview of the Nigerian Police and bush burning in this dry season is a source of concern for many, a lot of lives and properties have been lost in the wasteful inferno that has been a resultant effect of indiscriminate burning of bushes for game or other twisted reasons. See Something, Say Something!

As the NPBS has a whole package of crime reportage and emergency response such as the NPBS Television, NPBS Radio, NPBS Online, including the Emergency Command and Control Communication Center and the maiden Nigeria Police Communication outfit that would be replicated across the length and breadth of Nigeria, the adoption of the Smart Technology will enhance the effectiveness of reporting and tackling crime in whatever form and from the 36 States of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Hence, all hands must be on deck to see to the immediate take off of this laudable project.

Written by Edirin Jerry Wesley, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Police Broadcasting Service, Lagos.



This post first appeared on News In Nigeria, please read the originial post: here

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OPINION: THE USE OF SMART TECHNOLOGY FOR PUBLIC SECURITY BY THE NIGERIA POLICE BROADCASTING SERVICE (NPBS)

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