Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Let us let ICT help more with security

The irony of a lack of security at police posts and stations in the country is unfortunately no news, not after half a dozen posts being attacked this year alone.
What is especially deplorable about this situation is not the recurrence of attacks but rather the unchecked poor security that police field for themselves.
Take for instance the latest tragic incident (Sunday night) that has claimed the lives of at least four servicemen. Preliminary reports say the station had only a 5 policeman detail overseeing the entire station, including the armory that was stocked with at least 15 SMG automatic rifles and undisclosed amount of bullets.
The force has being very candid about its limited resources and more specifically for this case, its limited manpower.
Earlier this year, Dar es Salaam zone police commander Suleiman Kova told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that police posts only operate during the day because of a dire shortage of police officers.
As expected, the statement did not seat very well with the public whose general sentiment was that of abandonment.
Also worth noting is the fact that Kova’s statement of a severe shortage of staff came in the wake of 1000s of military trained ex-national service volunteers were appealing to the government for employment.
Admittedly, there is dire need to beef up the police force, to increase funding and monitoring of expenditure, to increase the number of youth joining the force and establish a welfare body to advocate and protect their rights.
Paramount to all this, is the need to increase police adaptation of ICT development and interagency cooperation.  
As it was in previous attacks, the handful of police officers at the attacked Dar es Salaam police station did not get any aid neither from other stations nor security agencies in the vicinity.
This could be because when the attack ensued, the police did not get a chance to radio for help and that is where ICT comes in. 
How many police posts and stations are fitted with CCTV cameras? The answer is few if any.
Similarly, how many police posts and stations have emergency alert systems to alert other stations and security organs in the vicinity that there is an attack underway?
With CCTV cameras, there is the hope that police would secure footage of attackers effectively putting them a step in the right direction on the road to indentifying the assailants.
With emergency alert systems, only a push of a button would alert other stations and agencies of the attack effectively allowing back up to be sent to the crime scene.
Such systems are not futuristic fictional gadgets only spotted in James Bond spy movies, on the contrary, they are available at most electronic stores in the country and they also come with almost any alarm system package offered by most security companies.
With such ICT integration, it would follow that the country’s security forces would be better integrated empowering them to deliver better services to wananchi and also, to boost their own security as well.