Force given another £5 million to test predictive policing technology

West Midlands Police has been awarded a further £5 million from the Home Office to continue testing software that predicts if someone will commit a crime or become a victim of one.

Jul 17, 2019
By Tony Thompson

The force is trialling the National Data Analytics Solution to analyse data on knife and gun offences, as well as modern slavery.

West Midlands Police Superintendent Nick Dale said: “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.

“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 judgment or affect the police’s accountability for our actions.”

West Midlands Police received funding of £4.5 million from the Home Office last year to trial the scheme.

Durham Police was the first force in England and Wales to use a predictive computer programme to decide how likely criminals were to re-offend, but several others are now looking at similar technology.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I fully support the police embracing innovative new technology in the fight against crime and to protect the most vulnerable victims.

“Anything we can do to stay one step ahead of the criminals should be welcomed, providing it is rigorously tested and ethically sound. I look forward to seeing the results of this West Midlands trial.”

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