Trends in Technology

Speech Recognition: The Newest Tool in The Never Ending War Against Crime

April 3, 2019 by Bobby J Davidson
Read similar articles in: Cool Technology

Police and other law enforcement personnel, ranging from the elite members of the law enforcement apparatus all the way to the street pounding beat cops, together are amongst the most important members of the various communities that they ‘defend and protect’ from criminals of all kinds. This is due to them being responsible for the real world safety, and security of all individuals living in the localities and areas that are part of their jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, this is but only a single piece of the overall picture at large. The police and other law enforcement agency’s work does not merely include exciting late night raids to collar criminals. It encompasses the former and all the requisite paperwork and other proper documentation of the myriad different crimes that have occurred, alongside other equally important ancillary issues that form a crucial part of their erstwhile daily routine.

o   The importance of ‘due process’ in police work

After all, a police officer certainly cannot arrest anyone without something known as “just cause” or a pressing reason that justifies the arrest. This means that there is a copious amount of paperwork that is required to make just about any arrest legitimate enough to be prosecuted in the eyes of the law.  Without all of this paperwork, the arrest will be treated as illegitimate and not only will the officer/s be censured, but the suspect will walk free.

Nonetheless, all these tedious hours upon hours of painstaking documentation that duly encompasses each and every facet of police work basically means that the cops in question are spending more time in their offices than where they should be. And that place is on the streets, doing precisely what they are supposed to be doing, which is stopping crime right in its tracks and thereby making the mean streets of just about any town or city considerably safer for the common man.

Apart from the above, extremely overworked policed officers can and almost certainly do make mistakes while they go about preparing reports, which they cannot afford to make due to the case relying on such reports to make a suitable judgment. There are times when an otherwise purely inadvertent error made during the transcription process can easily lead to the subsequent acquittal of a really dangerous criminal. In a nutshell, this means that really low conviction rates are a product of transcription errors due to which criminals and other felons eventually end up walking free, instead of ending up where they belong, I.e. behind bars.

This is a sad reality that occurs all too often. If it wasn’t for this extra load, enforcement personnel would not be forced to cut a few corners in their mad rush to get their paperwork in order. This causes them to rush through crucial reports that they have not had the time to properly vet. This, in turn also ends up leading to markedly low conviction rates, where the cases are contested in the courts of criminal law.

o   Speech recognition and its impact on law enforcement

This is the part where voice and speech recognition technology comes to the fore. Before the invention of speech recognition devices and their subsequent adaptation by the law enforcement sector, many county sheriff and police departments required their relevant personnel to transcribe the files themselves, word for word, on paper. The handwritten notes had to be handed over to various typists and stenographers so that these critical notes could be digitalized in the precinct’s own system. Basically, this meant that an even further burden, in terms of man hours was placed on all personnel involved. This went hand in glove with a sharply higher propensity of transcription errors to occur.

However, that was before speech recognition was almost uniformly adapted in the law enforcement sector. Today, thanks to the rapid advancements in cutting-edge speech recognition technology, law enforcement officers who arrive to their precinct or county sheriff’s office, fresh from the crime scene quite simply go about reviewing their encounter on any voice recognition device that subsequently transcribes their spoken words onto written speech. The police officer will then thoroughly read it, then proceed to rectify any errors (albeit, it is unlikely that there will be any, thanks to the tremendous advancements in voice recognition technology) on his word processor and he or she will be finished with their documentation duty.

In fact, this technology has certainly gone a really long way when it comes to streamlining the work of all the different police departments not just in the USA, but pretty much all over the world. This boils down to speech recognition technology essentially ensuring a certain measure of quick justice for all concerned parties.

In a courtroom, hard evidence is all that matters, and the onus of the responsibility of proving a crime rests with the prosecution. This is because the culprit is presumed ‘innocent till he or she is proven guilty’. And any mistakes in the transcription due to a stenographical error can and is often taken by the defense attorney as a glaring contradiction, helping the culprit walk out a free man. By reducing the layers of red tape, it is now possible to effectively ensure that the whole process is streamlined as much as possible. This leads to errors either out rightly being eliminated, or kept to a bare minimum.

o   Conclusion

Once we take in the intricacies of the old system and its propensity for making mistakes, it would not be wrong to state that this truly remarkable innovation has led to a steep decline in the overall workload for many different police departments. At the same it has also successfully helped to free up vital manpower resources that are absolutely critical for the task of providing security to a community.

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