“In the future, we need more integration of social media messaging technologies into professional systems to ensure their success. This will deliver the best police communications solution for Mexico.”
There is a lack of continuity in Mexico caused by changing political administrations. Every few years, our ways of doing things are re-invented. Local issues tend to dominate political thinking and there has been little opportunity for broader, national and long-term planning.
Another issue in Mexico, as it is worldwide, is the growing influence of social media and the increase in unreliable or politically motivated reports. It is important that governments strive to achieve much more objective communications of public matters and take control to avoid damaging their reputation.
The police forces in Mexico are organised on three governance levels – federal, state and municipality. There are more than 1,600 police agencies, which makes coordination and strategic planning very difficult. It also leaves open the opportunity for criminal cartels to corrupt officers and even place their own people into the municipal forces to influence police work in their favour.
While we cannot unify all police agencies, they would be easier to manage if the municipal level of governance was removed to leave 33 bodies instead of 1,600.
We have the advantage of a single national Tetrapol network for secure communications, which all police agencies are obligated to maintain. However, many states are also making complementary investments in other technologies such as P25 and TETRA, which can cause a lack of interoperable communications.
The implementation of secure end-to-end communications platforms based on IP protocols to support data exchange and database sharing is essential for the development of new ways of working that will help to improve the efficiency of police work.
We also continue to make a big effort in developing apps to support more efficient police control and we are seeing good results in addressing criminality. For example, in 2016, a new legal system was introduced requiring police officers to file very detailed reports to present a solid case to the judge in court. A new tool helps officers to achieve the detail needed and to file their reports online.
The typical police officer’s view of the radio as just a voice communications device needs to change. It is already more important than the police gun and its dependence will increase with the use of data transmission for police reaction, analysis, intelligence work and help deliver much better services.
Higher bandwidth communication also better supports officers who need to act in the moment, for example through instant vehicle licence plate recognition. It also enables real-time operational planning for more efficient deployment of police resources – situations can change very quickly.
In the future, we also need more integration of social media messaging technologies into professional systems to ensure their success. We have seen police officers using WhatsApp to send evidence and even to run dispatching through WhatsApp because it’s a tool they are used to. So we need to integrate professional versions of these kinds of tools into our secure, end-to-end system. This will deliver the best police communications solution for Mexico.
Emerging technologies are very important, but we need to implement new capabilities in a controlled way, one step at a time. This will avoid investment in expensive solutions, but which are hardly used because our people currently lack the training to use them.
A problem we face in Mexico is that the office buying the solutions does not always understand the capabilities of the people who must use them, so we don’t always get the results we expect. New users are familiar with smartphones and see possibilities for new apps to help them better perform their duties. They know how to use WhatsApp, but they don’t always know how to use professional technology. It’s a complex problem in which people need more training and even the public schools need to raise their educational standards.
New technology must be very easy to understand and be developed for local use. Advanced European technology cannot simply be transferred to Latin America. Technology must be based on local capabilities and practices. Only then can we start thinking about more advanced analytical and intelligence apps.
Suppliers cannot afford to wait for the institution to ask for the new technology they need. They need to engage with the whole organisation from the top to the bottom to understand what is and what is not working with the technology that’s already been implemented. It’s essential that all personnel are using the solutions at all levels so that when a new political administration is voted in, it will be very difficult for them to make changes. Then we get continuity.
If vendors do this correctly, they will have the opportunity to do some very interesting things with new broadband security technologies and become a much stronger transformation partner for the agencies.
We can learn much from other countries. Here in Mexico we have a relationship with the National Police of Colombia which gives us insights into how a single national force is organized and operates. This has helped us to develop strategic plans and shown us new ways to use technology to improve dispatching.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Airbus.
Mr Juan Carlos Peniche is Ex-Under-Secretary for Institutional Development – Police State Commission, Morelos Government, Mexico
Mr. Peniche is a Mexican citizen by birth but spent his formative years and started his professional career in France, Italy and mainly Spain. He worked for Renault aftermarkets for eight years, gained his Economics Degree from the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, and a specialised master’s degree in International Project Management from ESCP-Europe in 2010.
In January 2014, he joined the Morelos state government to strengthen the local police system and build a new “Police Operational Model”, under the guidelines of the Colombian National Police. Here he had the opportunity to learn about specialised Police Strategic Planning and Technology application.
During his period as a public officer, he was in charge of the construction and implementation of the C5 security system, which was awarded the best nationwide technological instrument for Public Safety in 2016.
Last year, Morelos was selected to be part of the Airbus SMVNO Proof of Concept (PoC), as a “Success Case” for its Software and APPs solutions, implemented to improve police management, strategic planning and operations surveillance.
Currently, Mr. Peniche works as a strategic consultant for local governments on technology and public safety, runs his own company specialising in software solutions and is also CEO of a private security solutions company based in Mexico City.
Mr Juan Carlos Peniche, Ex-Under-Secretary for Institutional Development – Police State Commission, Morelos Government, Mexico