NEW DELHI: Imagine two bike-borne men slowly inching towards you at a traffic signal, catching you unawares and snatching your mobile phone or chain. But as they try to flee, Delhi Police personnel land at the spot almost simultaneously and catch them red-handed.
Although cops have a reputation of arriving late to a crime scene, the situation could drastically change in the future with the force rapidly progressing towards adopting solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) for several aspects of policing.


The example stated above is not just a ‘precrime’-like concept from the Hollywood movie Minority Report. In fact, experiments have been conducted wherein hotspots of chain snatchings have been fed into the system, along with data of habitual offenders and time of reporting of such crimes to predict a possible strike.
“A full AI-based solution may give us the required boost in achieving better crime prevention rates,” said a senior officer dealing with technology in city policing.
After Union home minister Amit Shah emphasised the use of tech in policing three years ago, Delhi Police has been aggressively pursuing and exploring AI-based solutions. Initiatives like e-Beat Book, integrated complaint monitoring system, ‘Safe City’ project, integration of crime and criminal tracking system, inter-operable criminal justice system and office automation are some of the examples where technology and AI are set to play a huge role. Setting up of separate police technological and social media cells during the tenure of former police chief SN Shrivastava also proved to be milestones in the functioning of the force.

“Delhi Police has signed two memoranda of understanding with National Forensic Science University, Gujarat, and IIIT Delhi for making optimum use of technology and AI in police working,” said a senior officer.
“The Safe City project, for example, will have 15,000 cameras integrated with those at railway stations, bus stands and the ones installed by Delhi government. The camera feed would be monitored at police headquarters and AI will help in taking precautionary measures. It is going to be a milestone in curbing crime,” the officer added.
In January last year, Delhi Police had introduced AI-based phonetic keyboard for Hindi typing to lodge FIRs and write case diaries in CCTNS. This system has an integrated dictionary of traditional Hindi/Urdu words often used in police work.
“The system catches new Hindi and Urdu words too and stores these in the database, thus expanding its vocabulary to include all words and syntax used in police work. It has improved the speed, accuracy and efficiency of police functioning in terms of maintaining proper records digitally,” said another senior officer.
“While this was a big challenge for the cops, the use of AI on a small scale made a huge difference. It shows how AI can make a big difference in police functioning in the future,” he added.
Delhi Police and IIT-Delhi have also signed an MoU aiming to induct the latest innovations and technologies in policing.
Surveillance and anti-terror measures are two other aspects where cops hope artificial intelligence will make a huge difference and help immensely. From analysing CCTV feeds, intelligence inputs and identifying possible suspects to generating actionable intelligence and sending in teams — cops feel AI holds a great deal of importance in the coming years and will play a critical role.

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