The relationship between Big Tech and policing is hidden behind commercial confidentiality

The relationship between Big Tech and policing is hidden behind commercial confidentiality

For more than a decade, public investigative journalism, press, police whistleblowers, and even police chiefs have raised the issue that police IT systems were unsuitable and eventually lost victims of crime. .. This prompted media attention, public scrutiny, and resignation. One power head..


However, the role of private technology companies behind these reported impaired systems has not been scrutinized. Only three large developers are paid tens of millions of pounds to supply most of these UK systems. And it’s time to shed light on them too.

The market is dominated by Japanese-owned tech giants NEC, US-based specialist provider Niche RMS, And UK based Capita It provides four forces. According to my ongoing research, at least 41 of the 43 UK units are now proud owners of commercially produced integrated data systems.Niche according to their own website For 26 people Power with NEC Serving 16.. According to my own research, Capita serves about four units.

Government directive

Large-scale investment in new police The UK data system follows government directives requiring police to improve the way they collect and share information.This directive was issued following 2004 Public investigation Killing schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by known sex offenders in Soham, Cambridgeshire. Investigations may have helped prevent crime if police data practices improved.

Since then, police across the UK have embarked on large-scale procurement, primarily by purchasing complex data systems from these three large multinational technology developers.

Not only do these companies pay a lot of money for system design and implementation, but they also continuously provide IT services and maintenance, fix errors and defects, develop new features, and malfunction parts. Often there are long-term contracts to redesign the system. .. As these public-private partnerships became an increasingly embedded feature of British police, there were examples that seemed to question this, so it’s time to start asking if they work for the public good. I did.

In June, the new Greater Manchester Police (GMP) police chief said Power£ 27m Crime Reporting System “It does not work“And you may need to dispose of it.

“There is a systematic problem with underrecording crimes.”

Stephen Watson, Greater Manchester Police Chief, commented on the power to leave 220 crimes unregistered daily, adding that GMP will reform the system to increase crime records.

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 28, 2021


His admission led to the resignation of his predecessor, following a problematic year in which the unit was placed on “special measures” by inspectors. Snap inspection It turns out that one of the “iOPS” IT systems developed by Capita did not misrecord 800,000 crimes and 74% of child protection cases.

Further reports Later, it became clear that a “data set of personal information” containing the names and details of victims of sexual assault became available online, leading to a major invasion of privacy. Is not yet due to an IT system failure. ..

Connect with Athena

However, GMP is not the only one with serious problems with IT systems. 2019 is report The “Athena” platform, which costs £ 35m and allows instant data sharing between nine British police, is “unsuitable.” Frequent system crashes and an overly complex process meant that police did not prosecute criminals in time to file a proceeding.

Similar problems Occurred in 2015 Essex police were reportedly forced to look at pens and paper after the Athena system crashed for several days.Developer Northgate Public Services — Has been taken over since then NEC— At the time, I apologized for the “small area” issue that I said was being fixed. The Northgate Connect platform, which forms the basis of Athena, is used by 16 units.

In the right place

When In 2009In response to the demand for freedom of information, West Yorkshire police admitted that the introduction of a new “niche” platform “leaded to illegal arrests.” However, he also said that the “critical perspective of the niche” was the result of efforts to “identify areas for improvement.”

The problem seems to be widespread. NS 2018 survey It turns out that only 2% of police officers across the country are happy with IT systems and only 30% think their troops are wisely investing in them.

Police data systems have received less media attention than attractive and futuristic technologies such as: Face recognition When Predictive policing.. But they have a far greater impact on how people are policed ​​today.

They determine the data that police can record, how it is recorded, and how easy it is to access, share, analyze, and modify that data. As the Manchester, Essex, and West Yorkshire cases have already shown, when a system problem occurs, crime is not investigated, victims fail, innocent people are arrested, and criminals escape justice. ..

And if the data they provide turns out to be incomplete, unreliable, or incorrect, facial recognition technology picks out the wrong faces, and predictive policing picks out the wrong people.

The relationship between major police technology and police is hidden behind commercial confidentiality. It’s time for the government to open it up to proper public surveillance.

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This article will be republished from conversation Under a Creative Commons Original work..conversation

Quote: The relationship between Big Tech and Police was obtained from on August 4, 2021. Protected behind (August 4, 2021)

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