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LATEST THINKING


Smarter policing using analytics

Police forces globally are under increasing pressure to turn vast amounts of complex data into useful, crime-fighting insights and intelligence.

Overview

Forward-thinking police departments are now turning to analytics technologies to find quicker, smarter and more accurate means of analysing data to better assess, predict and prevent criminal activity. With predictive analytics, analysis of historical data trends is used to better inform daily operational decisions, enabling a step-change within policing.

Background
The concept of intelligence-led policing is not new and many forces already make the most of proven techniques, such as hotspot and time series analysis. However, with the industrialisation, automation and full integration of data analytics into police operations, important insights can, for the first time, be generated without the need for large teams of intelligence analysts.

Analysis

By deploying predictive techniques to analyse the data they hold, police forces can:

  • Guard against the escalation of particular events by predicting which events are most likely to escalate

  • Deploy personnel to where they are needed most, improving prevention capability and controlling costs

  • Conduct and focus new investigations more efficiently

  • Discover patterns in data that suggest areas for further investigation

  • Explore security threats by studying the people, events, locations and organisations involved

  • Deliver information to the field, where and when it is needed

Recommendations

The challenge for police forces is to ensure that the required data is available and accessible and presented in a format officers can use. Most importantly, the outputs and corresponding interventions driven by analytics must be continuously reviewed and refreshed so that police interventions can evolve and adapt to eventually pre-empt and prevent criminal activity taking place.