Techno-cops: information technology and law enforcement

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Since the first wave of computerisation in the 1970's the implementation of information technology (IT) within policing has been chequered and often met with resistance. It was not until the early 1990's that IT in policing became a political issue of national importance within the UK. This culminated in September 1994 with the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers issuing a National Strategy for Police Information Systems (NSPIS) for England and Wales. The development of an IT strategy must be viewed in the context of increasing expectations and pressure for reform within the police service as a whole and is set against a background of reports and studies aimed at enabling the police service to meet its aims more effectively. The business environment in which police forces operate is changing; increased demands for efficiency has led to IT being recognised as a valuable and innovative addition to policing. In recent years many technological developments have taken place initiated by local police forces themselves and by government both in the UK and the US. This article explores how technology can support the routine core functions of policing, the issues surrounding the use of the technology and finally draws some conclusions about the implications of the technology on the nature of policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-90
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Information Technology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 1998


  • policing
  • information technology
  • computerisation


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