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The Effect of 5G on Law Enforcement

The 5G era is upon us and brings with it many changes and new opportunities for digitisation, automation, IoT, and enhanced connectivity. 5G has the potential to change the way many organisations across industries operate, and one such sector is law enforcement. The introduction of 5G has many benefits to law enforcement but also comes with its own set of challenges that will need to be navigated, we examine these in more detail below.



How do the 5G benefits apply to law enforcement?

The benefits of 5G will have an impact on law enforcement operations and procedures, especially where enhanced efficiency and safety are concerned. If implemented correctly and with the right infrastructure, 5G will enable the below:

Enhanced data processing and access

The faster transmission speed and low latency aspects of 5G mean that law enforcement will be able to process and access critical data in the field, faster than ever before. Law enforcement will no longer need to go into the office to access data on their services, they would be able to do so on the spot with their IoT devices. Data security will be made possible through edge computing and network slicing, which are made possible with 5G. 

Access to more data 

With more public use of 5G, law enforcement will have access to more data than ever before. This will enhance visibility and the transparency of those under criminal investigation by making it easier to find and track information relating to alibi’s and whereabouts.  

Timesaving and efficiently 

5G provides faster access to data, and when combined with IoT devices can save on time as well. For example, voice recognition software and applications can be used to help draw up reports, get directions using a voice-activated GPS, used to provide instructions and access to data, etc. These applications ultimately save on time and enhance efficiency.



Officer safety and visibility 

5G allows for enhanced digitisation, automation, and remote connection. Here’s how the impact of technology is assisting law enforcement:

  • Robotics is currently being used by law enforcement across the globe to help save lives during dangerous situations, for example during a hostage situation or to detect a bomb. It allows officers to respond more efficiently through real-time technology, without risking their lives and the lives of the public.
  • Drones make use of thermal technology which assists law enforcement officers to monitor an area with a birds-eye view. They can be used in any location and at any time which allows officers to be more proactive and traceback illegal activity so that they can react faster.
  • Camera Surveillance allows for the automation of insights that will alert officers to unusual patterns, for example, people not wearing masks or the detection of guns in public areas. Automatic alerts can then be broadcast to nearby officers who can react.

This technology enables officers to gain valuable information about the situation and make decisions based on the data that they have, providing more visibility and enhancing safety.



Challenges of 5G and law enforcement

5G enhances access to essential data and this provides law enforcement with enhanced visibility and actionable insights. Even with all these benefits, there are still some challenges that need to be navigated.

There are two main challenges associated with 5G and law enforcement, relating to security and infrastructure.  5G has incredibly high standards of security which will make it harder for law enforcement to carry out lawful interception, meaning that access to vital information may be lost. The second challenge is related to the first and has to do with infrastructure. If law enforcement is granted access to this secure data by Telecom operators or Cloud Service Providers, they will still require the infrastructure and tools needed to access this data.

Law enforcement systems are often not compatible with this new technology because their systems are so outdated. For law enforcement to take full advantage of 5G there will need to be an investment into modern tools, updated software, and infrastructure. This is a complex problem that requires significant investment and for both Telcos and government agencies to come together to find ways to bridge this 5G network infrastructure gap.


5G offers many benefits to different governmental organisations, and law enforcement is no different. Not only would 5G enhance efficiency, productivity, and safety, but it will also enable access to critical information in almost real-time that will possibly lead to more lives being saved. But 5G adoption is not without its challenges. Governmental organisations and Telcos need to work together to ensure that law enforcement has the infrastructure and access necessary to take full advantage of all that 5G can offer.

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