Using social network analysis to understand offending and victimisation

Please note the deadline for this opportunity has now passed and we will not be accepting further applications. 

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) aims to keep London safe for everyone. One element is to make the most of the insights that can be gained from data and digital technologies to support ethical and effective crime prevention practices.  

Existing research highlights the importance of analysing crime and offender networks, for example to better understand vulnerability to violent crime victimization, of child sex trafficking, and knife crime. This project will explore connections between offenders and other agents. 

The aim of this project is to develop techniques that use social networking analysis to target enforcement and preventative action to reduce violence. The candidate will work with MPS data holdings (e.g. arrest data, police intelligence) and open source data (e.g. social media) to understand how can we connect known offenders in ways that inform how offending or victimisation may trigger or manifest. 

Topics might include determining pre-existing relationships between offenders, how offenders are connected to each other, and the strength, frequency and influence of these connections. These measures can be integrated within existing machine learning forecasting models, or utilised in other ways to inform effective and ethical targeting of police resources.   

Indicative Research questions are: 

  • Can we identify appropriate flags and triggers for police or other agency intervention to prevent violence, aimed at either the offender or the victim? 
  • How can social network analysis be used to augment existing machine learning forecasting methods to improve their accuracy and utility? 
  • How can insights generated by network analysis inform ideas for targeted interventions? 
  • What are the ethical issues arising from the use of these data and social network analysis methods for forecasting future offending?   


Project reference: MN62

Application deadline: 1st April 2022

*Candidates for this project must be able to prove residency in the UK for at least five consecutive years, to facilitate access to restricted police data. The successful candidate must pass a vetting process put in place by the Metropolitan Police, which will look into any previous convictions, links to criminals and extremism.*

How to apply