Policing in a Digital Age

A balance between community-based strategies and technological intelligence

  • Luís Manuel André Elias Instituto Superior de Ciências Policiais e Segurança Interna
Keywords: security, emergent technologies, community policing, Intelligence, human rights


Digital networks are a “new” environment for organized crime, radicalization, recruitment, terrorism, and disinformation. There is a deterritorialization of threats and risks, making digital networks a new dimension for the expansion of criminal networks and for justice and police.
Nowadays, democratic societies, human rights and internal/external security are challenged by artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. This “brave new world” has created an illusion within Police and intelligence communities that prioritizing technological intelligence they will obtain immediate and better results.
The central aim of this article is to reflect on security trends in nowadays societies of investing more in hard policing and technological policing and less in community-based strategies.
Artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, analytical software, predictive techniques based on algorithms are increasingly used by law enforcement. This resulted in a gradual devaluing of community policing and human intelligence and raises a set of ethical, deontological, fundamental rights protection, privacy, and, most likely, the systematic reproduction of biases.
We propose to analyze the benefits for Police to promote a comprehensive approach between HUMINT and TECHINT to allow a better understanding of communities’ idiosyncrasies and to improve the relationship between Police and fragile communities, as well as to prevent threats and risks to our collective security.
We seek to prove the advantages of scientific research and innovation in the digital age, and of a comprehensive approach between soft and hard policing, between community policing and intelligence-led policing, promoting at the same time a permanent dialogue between Police and citizens.

How to Cite
Elias, L. (2022). Policing in a Digital Age. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (6), 27-36. Retrieved from http://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/534
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