Hollerings | Digital & IT

Will predictive software transform policing of the future?

UK police forces are making use of their crime-prevention software – Predpol.

Predpol predicts critical events, by turning insights into action it focuses on 2 types of software: predictive policing and individual risk assessment.

Predictive mapping uses a machine-learning algorithm to calculate these predictions, by monitoring crime type, location and date/time to create a calculation. Through this cloud based software it predicts crime hotspots to show which areas needs heightened patrolling, to decrease crime rates and victimisation. 

Predpol can also manage patrol operations, see real-time officer locations and set missions to optimise the use of police officers.

​This technology can provide new insights into fun and knife crime, sex trafficking and potentially life-threatening offences when police budgets are under pressure.

Liberty the human rights group who challenges injustice, defends freedom and campaigns to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly. They have sent out a total of 90 freedom of information requests finding out which forces. However, some have said that this that this technology have led to biased policing strategies to focus on ethnic minorities and lower-income communities. 

Avon and Somerset Police has said that they try to prevent bias results happening from the Qlik system by not including ethnicity, gender, location and demographics. These programs use uniquely created algorithms to analyse police data and identify specific patterns, this again relies on profiling causing another concern of bias results.

BBC contacted the named forces including Cheshire and Kent have since come back to say they have stopped using the technology. Kent police are now investigating into other options to focus on traditional and emerging crime types.

Home Office have funded a 4.5 million project called the National Data Analytics Solutions (NDAS) consisting of about 5 million people including information on incident logs, custody records and conviction history! NDAS will calculate a risk score by doing an individual risk assessment it can predict how likely someone is of committing another crime or becoming a victim of a crime, using machine-learning techniques. Also through this .This system can be used to help reduce mental illnesses in the police by monitoring their individual patterns.

Is Predpol a step towards the future or a backwards step of creating bias results?

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