Ryan Prox

Thought piece by Ryan Prox at The SOCEX Economic Crime Conference

As the world becomes more interconnected, the policing environment grows more complex. To adapt, law enforcement agencies have had to continually find new ways to do more with less. Efforts to modernize information technologies and enhance agencytoagency communication have done much to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Yet, improved technology and dialogue alone do not address the challenge of making good decisions in a complex and continuously changing environment. For law enforcement personnel to make sound tactical, operational and strategic decisions, they require a complete picture of criminal organizations and the environment in which they operate.  Yet, despite this ever present need for effective multi-agency interoperability between organisations, its implementation has been hindered for various reasons, not only because of incompatibility of different systems, but including security and regulatory concerns, budgetary considerations and procedural differences between agencies.

 While the law enforcement community has broadly endorsed the principles of cooperation, we have yet to fully embrace the approach in practice. One of the difficulties is that as a community, we have yet to forge a shared vision for how we wish to collaborate on pressing issues. As such, individual agencies that have sought to develop their own practices for how information is collected and processed, and for how intelligence is used to inform decision-making. This lack of common vision and practices not only has led to inconsistencies in enforcement action, but in some cases is preventing law enforcement agencies from working together effectively.  While technology is at the forefront of the transformation of law enforcement, we must not lose sight of the fact that non-technical barriers such as regulatory, security, financial & procedural have been identified as the more challenging issues facing law enforcement.