Crime in Kenya has been on an undeniable ascendancy in the recent past. We are constantly recoiling from the horrific escapades of gangsters. Our law enforcement agencies are indisputably trying their best to counter these criminal threats with various tools and skills at their disposal. However, the potential of technology as a crime busting tool has yet to be fully exploited and applied. The time has come to harness the power of a criminal intelligence IT system.
Intelligence is the end product obtained after information has been subjected to a systematic intelligence process. This process involves planning, collection/evaluation, collation, analysis and dissemination of information.
A central digital repository of criminal intelligence information goes beyond the compilation of data that is used mainly to react to immediate routine investigative needs. It encompasses criminal, tactical, operational and strategic intelligence.
The criminal intelligence aspect of this system would process and store information on known or suspected persons involved in criminal activity in Kenya.
It would also provide tactical intelligence. This is information that has not been subjected to analysis, for example criminal histories/associations, hideouts and past convictions. This information is usually used on short-term and uncomplicated cases.
Of more importance would be the operational intelligence such a system would make available to our Police officers. This operational information offers a broader understanding of the workings of a criminal gang/enterprise for example its leadership/succession structure, membership process, rules and regulations, degree of dominance and general practices. This information is used in formal reports that generate recommendations for future action.
The criminal intelligence system would finally provide strategic intelligence. This information provides an overview of the scope and character of criminal activity. Apart from serving the needs of the Police, this information is also consumed by the executive and legislative arms of government. It assists them in developing policies and programs that would combat a particular criminal sector.
The current fragmentation of criminal intelligence efforts weakens the ability of central police management to conduct criminal, tactical, operational and strategic responses to crime.
As we move further into the technological era, we should not produce criminal intelligence for its own sake. This system should be developed and applied to direct the collective response of our law enforcement agencies to crime. That is why we must develop an indigenous criminal intelligence system that increases our capability to collect, analyze and report information on criminal activities.