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Home Office plans Crime Prevention Data Lab


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Home Office plans to create a Crime Prevention Data Lab have won early support from the IT industry.

The move was announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) in a speech outlining the Government’s package of anti-crime strategies.

The Home Office is currently assessing options that will bring together a range of datasets from across government. It is aimed at building up a better picture of the experiences and circumstances that could lead a young person into crime.

Javid said: “If we are to understand violence, we must also understand all its drivers and we in government are at the start of understanding how data can help us do that. Creating and understanding the causes and pathways to crime.

“Recent analysis by my own department found that the top 5% of crime ‘hotspots’ accounted for some 17% of the total volume of ‘acquisitive crime’. In plain English, crime such as burglaries and car thefts.

“That is why the Home Office will be developing new proposals for a Crime Prevention Data Lab. We will be exploring how we can bring together information from the police and other agencies, to enhance our ability to make targeted and effective interventions.”

Whitehall effort

It is understood that the department is currently working with others in Whitehall to understand the most effective way of achieving its aim.

IT industry association techUK described the announcement as “promising”, saying it reflects a recognition of data driven technologies in preventing crime.

Jessica Russell, emergency services programme manager for techUK, said: While this is a positive step, and we understand that it is still in its early stages, we are intrigued to understand where this would fit into the wider public safety sector, and how it would relate to other related technology focused centres and panels.

“techUK is keen to work with the Home Office, and others, to inform the work on a potential Crime Prevention Data Lab, and in turn, underpin a greater “ability to make targeted and effective interventions.”

She also expressed support for the home secretary’s broader approach of violent crime as a public health issue.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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