Kent

Kent crime up despite new 'predictive policing' tool

Predictive Policing in LA
Image caption The predictive policing software was pioneered in Los Angeles

Crime in Kent increased despite the introduction of a new police computer system designed to predict where it was likely to happen, a report has found.

Some officers did not understand how the software worked while others did not have enough time to use the technology properly, Kent Police said.

It was introduced across the county in April 2013 after a four-month trial in Medway saw street violence fall by 6%.

Kent Police said it has now changed the way the £130,000 system is used.

The "predictive policing" project, based on software pioneered in Los Angeles, was approved by the now-abolished Kent Police Authority.

'Crime up'

It uses past trends and current information to predict when and where crime is likely to happen.

In the first year of its operation, ending in April 2014, overall rates of recorded crime actually went up in the county.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Brandon said "predictive policing" had been introduced at the same time as a study by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Police Constabulary (HMIC) found only 90% of crime was accurately recorded by Kent Police.

"We invested a lot of time to increase that up to 96% and by doing so we saw a lot more crime on the books," he explained.

Mr Brandon did acknowledge that the new computer system had not been used as efficiently as it could have been.

"We weren't perhaps getting as many officers and staff and other agencies into the areas that were identified as the zones to police as we had hoped.

"We have narrowed the numbers of areas to patrol and increased the number of patrol hours in those areas.

"Where we have done that, some of the early results are all positive."

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