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Punjab police force in India embraces data analytics

The Indian state of Punjab is set to integrate new crime and criminal tracking networks and systems (CCTNS) following the roll-out of two data analytic tools. The systems will enable police officials in the field to analyse data in a web and mobile-based application.

A vendor has already been awarded the contract to develop the app, according to a news report. 1,100 tablets have been given to police officials in the field. Further, 1,500 mobile phones providing access to a comprehensive database have been procured.

Last year, Punjab became the first state to roll out IBM-developed Cognos, a business intelligence tool used for big data collection. The tool was provided for free by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) but the states were required to purchase the hardware to make the tool functional.

Punjab Additional Director General of Police (Technical Services), Kuldeep Singh, under the Administration and Police Governance Reforms (ADGP), said that depending on the size of the state and the amount of data generated, the hardware costs more than IN 50 lakhs (US$66,912). Punjab was the first to roll out the tool, last year.

The Punjab police are also using ArcGIS, which is a big data mapping and analytics platform. The department has a fully loaded version of ArcGIS. It spent IN 3.5 crores (US$468,384) on the tool from police modernisation funds. The tool is not just about data analytics but is also used for locational intelligence. Singh also added that geo-fencing allows the department to digitally plot boundaries.

“We have done geo-fencing right up to police station level. It has been done fully in 18 districts. Geo-fencing is still in progress in big urban settlements,” he noted. “We now have last two years’ latitude and longitude-wise data of crime.” It helps identify hotspots such as road accidents. It can generate patterns of different categories of crime in any given area. For instance, if the police need to generate information on traffic needs, the tool provides comprehensive information about schools in the area. It is then able to generate traffic information by analysing peak hours while factoring in school timings.

After making the analytics tool functional, Singh noted that they are fully integrating it by creating the web and mobile app. The app will support artificial intelligence (AI), as well. Consequently, field staff will be able to access data, analyse it, and run inquiries. Mobile phones and tablets used to access the app come with a device management tool, which ensures the system is only used for official purposes.

The ADGP said the earlier CCTNS was elementary, and the broadband offered slow connectivity. “We had to tunnel our way through to access [the] internet,” he said, adding that the new system in place had upgraded connectivity based on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology, which increased the speed and offered a secure environment.

Last month, the Punjab police department launched a mobile application to find stolen and lost vehicles recovered by the police. The Punjab Police Vehicle Finder System or PP VFS addresses the problem of tracing recovered vehicles. Through it, the public will be able to find out whether their stolen vehicle has been recovered in any of the police stations across the state. There is also an advanced search system that allows a citizen to search their vehicle by uploading the make, model, and colour details.

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