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How big data and artificial intelligence can help combat crime

The University of East London (UEL), in association with the British Society of Criminology’s Crime and Justice Statistics Network, is set to host a ‘Big data, AI and the future of crime and justice’ conference on 23 May at the University’s Docklands Campus.

The conference asks attendees to think critically about the use of big data and AI in society, specifically in the sphere of crime and justice.

It’s become a daily occurrence to open a newspaper or look at our phone’s news feed and see that another knife attack or murder has taken place. We’re quickly becoming familiar with seeing data about the number and types of crimes reported, where they happen and who is affected. 

But can we also use data to create a safer society and make the criminal justice system more just and fair?

The conference will bring together senior speakers from government and academia to address these challenging issues.

Data and technology can be used to proactively support crime prevention and assist the police. Examples include:

  • Using AI to take down extremist online content
  • Using predictive analysis to enable the police to disrupt hotspots
  • Using data to provide the police with new insights into perpetrators and victims of crime

In the morning, senior staffers from the Office of National Statistics, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice will reveal how they harness big data and deploy machine learning.

Afternoon sessions will see academic colleagues discussing how predictive policing and AI is being used to combat modern slavery and other exploitative crime.

Professor Allan Brimicombe, head of the University of East London’s Centre for Geo-Information studies, said, “Data and their use in machine learning and artificial intelligence are having a profound effect on many aspects of society.

“In this conference, we are exploring the impact on crime and justice and what the near-future holds. The use of data is changing the way policing is carried out, how the courts are modernised and how new forms of crime and harms to society emerge.”

Conference speakers include:

  • Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office of National Statistics, will discuss crime data in the context of the bigger picture
  • Rupert Chaplin and Jonathan Roberts, chief data scientists at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, respectively, will talk about their use of data science
  • Dr Anjali Mazumder from the Alan Turing Institute will focus on using data science and AI to combat modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Cristina Magder, UK Data Service, will focus on big data, AI, disclosure and data quality
  • Dr Nicolas Malleson, associate professor in crime modelling, and Dr Daniel Birks, academic fellow in quantitative policing and crime data analytics, from the University of Leeds, will discuss AI and data science for policy
  • Professor Martina Feilzer, professor in criminology and criminal justice from Bangor University, will talk about predictive policing
  • Dr Helen Hodges, research officer at the Wales Centre for Public Policy, will focus on youth justice.


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