The UK Home Office – which is responsible for the country’s immigration, security and law and order – has pledged to invest £5mn to test software that predicts whether someone will commit a crime.
West Midlands Police has received funding to test a new data analytics system that analyses large volumes of police-held data to assess the risk of someone committing a crime or becoming a victim.
So far, the National Data Analytics Solutions (NDAS) has analysed police data on knife and gun offences and those who have previously committed them to pinpoint patterns and common traits among perpetrators.
It’s also been used to identify common indicators of modern slavery victims and the networks which enable these crimes.
“This technology has the potential to help us understand modern slavery networks – the hidden crime within our communities – so much better, as well as the problems that lead to serious violence that blights communities and affects the lives of victims and perpetrators,” said Superintendent Nick Dale, who leads on NDAS for West Midlands Police.
“We are still at an early stage in identifying how best machine learning technology can be used, but it is really important that our work is scrutinised independently from an ethical point of view, and that technology will never replace professional judgement or affect the police’s accountability for our actions”