Police women in a street

Police and law enforcement transcription made easy with OCR and Mobile Data Capture


Ask just about anyone who is a television crime series fan, and they will tell you that they know exactly what it’s like to process a crime scene or nab the “bad guy.” One day police officers are hot on the case, solving high profile crimes, and the next they are racing their cars recklessly through the city streets.

The truth is though, police work isn’t quite so glamorous. It involves a lot of paperwork which is the real key to building cases that prosecutors can win in court. It is essential to enforce the law and keep order in the community. And collecting data in real life isn’t an easy task. A little help with police and law enforcement transcriptions would be appreciated.
In this blog we are going to ask:

  1. Why do mistakes happen?
  2. What happens if mistakes are made?
  3. How can OCR help police officers?
  4. How can OCR solutions be integrated?
police officers patrolling

1. Why do mistakes even happen?

The daily work of a police officer tends to be pretty routine much of the time. Add to that the stress that law enforcement officers endure on a daily basis, police officers can be under a tremendous amount of pressure. Plus, they are human. Mistakes happen.

So where exactly is that data collected and why is it difficult or even dangerous at times for officers to collect it?

Traffic accidents

One of the most high-stress situations that police officers face is car accidents. When an accident occurs, police, the fire department, EMS, and other emergency responders are on the scene in a hurry, but it’s often the police who are the first line of response when that call comes in. Add to that the state of the people involved in the accident. They may be injured, deceased, in shock, even angry and when the officers show up on the scene, he or she catches the brunt of it all. This can make it very hard for the officer to get the correct information from victims and witnesses.

Citizen checks

You may not think it, but citizen checks rank right up there with some of the most stressful tasks that police are called to do. The person who was asked to show their ID may get offended or they may already be evading police and when they are stopped, they feel cornered or threatened and may react aggressively or even violently. While the officer is occupied with trying to collect the data and write it down on their pad, they are letting their guard down.

Other reasons for mistakes

During the course of a shift, an officer might encounter a dozen or more situations that cause stress, excessive workload, distraction, fatigue, and more. And all of these can lead to mistakes.

2. What happens if mistakes are made?

Police officers are no different to anyone else when it comes to making mistakes, yet they are held to a higher (and often unrealistic) standard. It is especially unrealistic when they do not have the proper tools or adequate tools to collect vital information.

Data is pivotal to any criminal case from a simple traffic stop to a bank robbery or murder. If evidence is based on incorrect data, due to transposition or transcription errors, or any other error that could occur when collecting information on the scene, the case could be completely dismissed.

3. How can OCR help police officers with data transcriptions?

The good news is police officers don’t have to manually collect data anymore. Technology has offered several innovative ways for it to be easier, more reliable, and much faster. It’s called OCR and it promises to make officers’ lives just a little bit easier.

Optical character recognition (OCR) allows officers to quickly and accurately scan driver’s licenses, license plates for vehicles, and other forms of identification, uploading the information onto their mobile devices. Writing long numbers like vehicle identification numbers (VIN) or some driver’s license numbers can be a challenge. It is easy to incorrectly transpose numbers, especially when you factor in the distractions that can occur in the field. OCR helps to reduce the incidence of mistakes because the numbers are scanned directly from the source.

The North-Rhine Westphalian police department has developed a mobile policing solution that utilizes OCR technology and reduces the incidence of mistakes. When in the field, officers scan the information that they need onto their smartphones. This allows them to scan IDs, passports, license plates, and more. The implementation of this technology has increased the department’s efficiency and reduced mistakes in data collection in the field.

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4. How can OCR solutions be integrated?

The integration of Anyline’s OCR solutions is simple and doesn’t require any special equipment. It works with most smartphones with Android, UWP, or iOS. The scanning is completed using standard mobile devices that officers often already have and know how to use and do not add any great expense.

Are you ready to see Anyline in action for yourself? The Anyline software development kit (SDK) integrates easily and has the backing of hands-on support manned by experienced, knowledgeable customer service teams that are ready to assist you. Common integration frameworks like  Cordova, React Native, and Xamarin are also supported. Installation is easy with very little time investment.

Test Anyline’s OCR for yourself by checking out our demo app. Or sign up for a 30 day free trial for our SDK. Our officers work hard to keep our communities safe. Let’s make their job just a little bit easier.


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Finally, if you have questions, suggestions, or feedback on this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Anyline. Contact us via social media, contact form, or send us an email at [email protected]

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