Open Source Policing
Open Source Policing involves the gathering and distribution of free educational resources, training materials, software, intelligence resources and law enforcement information to local police agencies, police officers and the general public.
Law enforcement tends to be a very expensive proposition, the ultimate goal of Open Source Policing is to make quality policing more affordable for society and more accessible to the general public. Open Source Policing will allow police departments to spend less time and energy on developing technological resources and focus more on increasing communication with the public, operating more efficiently and providing the highest level of training to professional police officers. Open Source Policing will also increase police transparency & accountability and help communities make the policing process more democratic.
Open Source Policing is complimentary to Community Policing, Problem Oriented Policing, Intelligence Led Policing and Predictive Policing.
Open Source Policing leverages free available technology to:
- Provide free software solutions for police agencies, public safety analysts and police officers
- Increase available training opportunities for police officers, public safety analysts, police managers, police support personnel and volunteers
- Provide creative works, policies, knowledge or any type of content related to policing in all forms to anyone
- Increase communication between police agencies
- Allow police agencies to more easily pool resources and collaborate on training, analysis and problem solving efforts
- Increase available channels of communication between police and the public
- Increase the frequency and quality of communication between the police and the public
- Increase public knowledge of crime prevention techniques, local crime trends and police community outreach efforts
Open Source Policing builds upon Community Policing ideals allowing the public to have a greater understanding of police operations and a greater say in the type of policing that they receive. Open Source Policing uses technology to build bridges between the public and the police. The result being an increased public trust and a willingness for the public to more actively participate in policing efforts.
Open Source Policing allows for more effective Problem Oriented Policing by increasing knowledge of effective tactics and strategies among police officers, police agencies and the public.
Open Source Policing provides more effective and more affordable tools, training and communication for police agencies engaged in Intelligence Led Policing. Open Source Intelligence is a tool of both Intelligence Led Policing and Open Source Policing.
Open Source Policing also provides effective tools, knowledge, training and communication resources in order to create more accurate predictions of future criminal activity so that crimes may be prevented before they happen. Predictive Policing is a relatively new policing concept that has been defined by the National Institute of Justice as a model of policing that “includes strategies and tactics that improve the situational awareness of law enforcement concerning individuals or locations before criminal activity occurs.” By its’ very nature Predictive Policing relies heavily on technology for the gathering, analyzing and distribution of information and intelligence. Open Source Policing will allow Predictive Policing to become an affordable and attainable model for all police agencies.
While Open Source Policing has the goals of increasing transparency and making information available to the general public it is never to be used to disclose confidential police information, victim information or information regarding police investigative, analytical and operational tactics. Despite the strongest desire to make policing as transparent as possible practitioners and the public need to remember the importance of keeping criminals unaware of certain methods used to investigate, track and apprehend them. Some police policies, procedures and emergency plans contain sensitive information that cannot be disclosed to the general public. There is also a need to train police officers in effective tactics and strategies relating to physical confrontations, acts of violence and acts of terrorism that should not be readily disclosed to the public.