Feeds

IBM begs Britain's new top cops: C'mon, set up pre-crime units

Coppers are 'wasting' predictive model tech on beancounting

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

England and Wales residents will soon be able to vote in their own local cop chiefs. Police officers in 41 forces across the UK are set to come under the direction of the new officials - elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) - from next week. And it seems IBM wants to have a word on how the new brooms plan to do their jobs.

British residents - except for Londoners, whose Mayor Boris Johnson also wears a PCC cap - will be able to vote for their "Commish" from 15 November. Among the duties of the new PCCs, as described by the Home Office, is setting police and crime "plans" and working with local authorities to "promote joined-up working".

Stats on crimes and clear-up rates are sure to become an important part of the new way of working, as elected officials try to measure the performance of their plans. PCCs will want to incontrovertible proof their plans are hitting the spot if they are to get re-elected

Also, PCCs are sure to want to compare the performance of their force against others.

Big Blue: Precogs... Who needs 'em?

Enter IBM, which sees the November elections as an opportunity to promote the uptake of its SPSS and I2 analytics software among the forces of Great Britain. IBM bought SPSS for $1.2bn in 2009 and i2 in 2011 for an undisclosed sum.

IBM claims every force in the UK already uses its SPSS statistics module and I2 analyst notebook, but says cops are not exploiting the kit to its full potential when it comes to crime fighting and crime prevention. Instead, they're used by beancounters and for basic statistical analysis.

IBM believe British forces should hit the beat on crime prevention by employing content analysis and predictive modeling using unstructured data - something that comprises 95 per cent of the data police handle in the form of video, written statements, crime reports, media, Tweets - along with the structured stuff. Also, police should be able to draw on data from sources outside of day-to-day policing - groups involved in housing and education.

Ahead of the elections, IBM tells The Reg it's been making "informal contacts" among candidates about using SPSS modules and I2 to anticipate crime and deploy police.

"We are talking to a number of candidates," IBM's global lead for crime analytic Ron Fellows said on a recent visit to IBM's Hursley facility in the UK. "It's a case of seeing what the feeling is among candidates and forces for the increased use of technology."

He reckons social media analytics - analysis of Tweets or Blackberry messenger that helped rioters in 2011 - is the one thing apart from predictive analytics that he gets asked about most by police. Post-riot stats showed word about the violence and disorder had spread on social media three-and-half hours before the police were notified of what was going on.

IBM has already worked with police forces in the US, where elected police commissioners are a way of life, on predictive modelling. Among them, Memphis Police Department in a project with Tennessee University on a project called Blue Crush. Fellows said it had reduced crime by 30 per cent by predicting where a crime would happen.

"The nirvana is real time operations based on real time info - like the military. The vast majority [of forces] are on the bottom rung - still reacting to crime using limited information. They must improve the way they work," Fellows said.

Greater Manchester Police is cited by IBM as one British force that, briefly, attained nirvana. Under retired chief superintendent Keith Bentley, GMP rolled out SPSS and I2 following the 2001 Oldham Riots.

Manchester used spatial analytics and mapped data to other crimes and related offenders. It also used predictive analytics to research cold cases and violent and sexual criminal offences. The force employed SQL searches and looked at spatial and temporal graphs to see how offenders had approached victims - they discovered 29 variables. The result was 12 offenders arrested, two crimes clarified, and eight clusters of other precautions identified that had been missed.

Predictive analysis is all very good for fans of a Minority Report future, but British police won't be able to liberally start upgrading their SPSS modules right after 15 November. The first problem is that off-the-shelf software like SPSS must be bought through the controversial Sprint ii IT procurement framework for public sector, whose only supplier is SCC.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.