Applying Data Analytics to Comprehensive Linked Police Records

Project Details

Lead Supervisor: Prof Nathan Hughes (University of Sheffield)
Contact Email: nathan.hughes@sheffield.ac.uk
Partners: University of Sheffield
External Partners: West Midlands Police

Start Date: October 2018

  West Midlands Police, through their Data Driven Insights programme, have recently developed an analytics lab to bring together a wide range of policing data sources and provide a big-data platform upon which advanced mathematical and statistical techniques can be applied to the data.

This concept has been developed to assist WMP to deliver its vision of preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need.┬áThe analytics lab will have access to a time bound ‘static’ data set, upon which retrospective analysis can be progressed, as well as a live data set should insights gathered be suitable for integration into operational business. This represents a unique opportunity to undertake retrospective longitudinal analysis and then apply emergent models prospectively. It also provides potential for research that can be immediately impactful, being designed and undertaken to solve current and emerging policing priorities.

The data is amenable to a range of analytic techniques. For example, machine learning techniques have been applied, creating artificial neural networks, so as to model the complex nonlinear relationships between interconnected inputs and outputs. Interpretation of the models enables the identification of modifiable factors that might be targeted by police or other agencies, though also requires critical consideration to the social construction of, and therefore biases inherent in police data.

The data has a myriad of potential applications; ideas include, but are not restricted to, violence prevention, intergenerational criminalisation and victimisation, and evaluation of impact of specific interventions or events.

Reference number SH24

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