Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing

The Nordic-Baltic countries and the UK are not only considered leaders in the digitalization of the public sector, but they have also established long-term cooperation in regards to law enforcement. At the same time, law enforcement constitutes an important institution of the public sector that is currently going through a gradual transformation by applying digital strategies to improve its efficiency and effectiveness to predict events and automate work in crime deduction in several countries.

The use of data driven innovations in policework has raised considerable attention in policy, media, legal, and academic debates. However, these debates are largely speculative, focusing on the potentials of new forms of police work. We actually know very little about how big data is adopted and adapted in law enforcement activities and to what consequence. Moreover, the proliferation of data analytics brings into question how citizens’ rights are being protected as what counts as ‘safety’ or ‘policing’ is being fundamentally transformed.

The aim of Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing is to investigate how institutional and social values, digital affordances, and organizational politics are conceived and embedded in data-driven police innovations, as well as experienced and practiced by police officers and developers of digital police infrastructure in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

The CUPP project will apply an interdisciplinary framework at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Critical Criminology, and Critical Big Data Studies to identify and explore the related effects and impact of data driven police technologies on society and end-users. CUPP will apply a three-phase methodological approach consisting of recent historiography, fieldwork and interviews, and collaborative interventionist analysis. The research team will generate vital new insights about how law enforcement is conceived and practiced in the digitalized state, as well as how public participation and scrutiny is ensured in the procurement, implementation and use of digital infrastructures. Additionally, the research will shed light on what values and politics are inscribed within digital solutions.

Project members

  • IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • PROSA (Denmark)
  • University of Technology Tallinn (Estonia)
  • University of Latvia (Latvia)
  • Baltic Studies Centre (Lativa)
  • University of Oslo (Norway)
  • University of St Andrews (UK)