Keeping the peace, enforcing the law, protecting property.
The basic purpose and principles of policing haven’t changed much since the 1829 creation of the London Metropolitan Police, which is widely considered to be the first professional police force of modern times. The environment in which the police operate, however, has changed beyond recognition.
Take crime itself. The ease of travel, more open borders and digital technologies have globalized criminality, making it far harder to contain and prosecute. Terrorism, of course, is notoriously borderless. But globalization has also massively expanded opportunities for organized crime.And technology, by spawning new kinds of crime while facilitating the traditional variety, is helping lawbreakers become ever bolder and more difficult to track down.
Cybercrime, or crime committed using the Internet, can be particularly lucrative for its perpetrators—and deeply damaging for its victims. The theft of personal financial data online, for example, is estimated to cost the world’s consumers a whopping $110 billion annually.Citizens expect to be protected from these more modern crimes the same way they expect protection from such traditional offenses as burglary and assault. What’s more, they want to be directly involved in the crime-fighting effort. In a world of 24-hour news, apps and social media, people now expect the sort of “always on, always aware” relationship with the police that they enjoy with other service providers—a constant dialogue, both online and in person.