DailyPost 2377

Can a visual dragnet be created? Can there really be something of that nature? We have been hearing of Amritpal Singh on the run, he having been able to evade the massive manhunt of 12 days now. While very serious efforts are being made to nab him, old style posters of the accused are also being put at public places, the breakthrough could happen anytime. If the CCTV networks spread all around the place, particularly in urban areas could be used as a force multiplier, to track where policemen cannot reach or reach in time, and certainly human beings cannot work with the level of precision required 24/7, this could well turn out to the visual dragnet.

What is a visual dragnet? It is an unseen surveillance cover created by the police through its CCTV networks, with the capability to detect the fugitive in real time, notify as required, with consequent swift police action, taking him into custody. Visual dragnet is thus a creation of technology, most appropriately implemented and used, with the help of domain and communication experts and business synthesized into a dynamic and fully operational standard operating procedure. The hardware, the network of cameras with their field of view, and best of facial recognition and automated number plate recognition software, making the final result possible.

With men and vehicle movement fully under control, the technological dragnet would be in place to help police to provide immense nature of clues, even besides actually nabbing of it. Have our systems reached that level, or are we happy with doing lip service through thousands of cameras, but nothing concrete is coming out of it in a consistent manner. The system has not been elevated to that level. If you challenge the technology after having it installed it in the correct manner, and having taken care of all its requirements, it is bound to deliver.

It would improve in an iterative manner and so would the business capability and also the confidence of the police in using it. The proficiency of the man behind the machine is critical to what the machine delivers. Have we created that proficiency? Have we been using this technology for live investigations and intelligence or just as a video footage generating tool for post mortem analysis. The visual dragnet can do wonders, given the fact that it could turn out to be the ultimate force multiplier. The shortage of force, numerically and technologically at the individual level, can be compensated in a brilliant manner through this technology. Do we use our systems as a visual dragnet of a daily basis, lots of surveillance, monitoring and actual action could happen with much less of effort and much more effectively.

Sanjay Sahay

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