New Zealand Police cautious about using artificial intelligence, US law enforcement using it to help them on front line

New Zealand Police are cautious about using artificial intelligence despite US law enforcement turning to it to help them on the front line. 

Police say technology companies are actively approaching them about using artificial intelligence on the frontline, but told Newshub it's taking a cautious approach.

"These tools can be fabulous, but they have to be used in the right way," Inspector Carla Gilmore told Newshub. 

Across the US, police officers are equipped with body cameras that on average capture 20 videos a day, or 100 per week. In one Pennsylvania Department, the footage is now being analysed by artificial intelligence.

The Castle Shannon department has started using an AI tool called Truleo. It reviews all the footage, whereas human eyes usually only analyse one percent of it. 

The AI scans the footage for five million keywords during interactions with the public, and the goal is to detect problematic officer behaviour so it can be rectified before things get worse.

There are countless examples of officers using excessive force in the US. In January, Memphis man Tyre Nichols died after being beaten by officers. 

Truelo's co-founder says that incident is a prime example of where this technology could have been implemented in the years leading up to that night to prevent such a tragic outcome.

"I believe Truelo would have prevented the death of Tyre because it would have detected deterioration in the officers' behaviour years prior," Anthony Tassone said.

Forty US Police Departments have signed up for this one product so far. New Zealand Police says it's not quite ready to implement AI on the frontline yet. Despite that, it says technology companies frequently approach them about using their products.

"Nothing's ever off the table, we're in a dynamic working environment. As I said before, we're in a dynamic working environment and technology is developing so fast", says Inspector Carla Gilmore.

Police have even employed an emerging technology boss to oversee tools like AI. Inspector Gilmore's job is to consider legal, privacy, and ethical implications in police tech.

She says she understands global concerns about artificial intelligence.

"Yes, these tools can be fabulous. And they can be fabulous, but they have to be used in the right way, and we have to understand how they work", she says

There is no timeline for Kiwi officers to use artificial intelligence just yet but police first want to watch how it unfolds in other countries like the US before it makes the AI leap.