Met Police to use behavioural data to prevent crimes against women

The London Metropolitan Police is working on building a "city-wide data picture" to predict which men are likely to commit violence against women and girls.

The Metropolitan Police is set to use data analytics to help stop offenders before they commit an additional or worse crime.

Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told the international ‘Exceptional Policing’ conference that the new data-led approach to policing will enable the force to "understand the likelihoods" of who will commit a violent crime in the City of London.

“The Met is working to build a city-wide data picture of men who we know prey on and commit abhorrent crimes against women and girls across London, which is more sophisticated than ever before," he said. “Sadly, we know it is many tens of thousands of men.

“I want us to go further, to see if we can build a clearer picture of future risk, forecasting and interdicting men who will commit violent crimes again women or girls, based on previous behaviour as statistically tested risk factors.

“Whilst I can’t give you the full analysis today, I can tell you that the success rate of this approach is proving impressive. We’re increasingly able to understand the likelihoods of who will commit some of society’s most serious crimes and use that to inform our thinking about prevention.”

The announcement comes following the police force's commitment to an "urgent review" of all allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse against officers, as a result of the uproar caused by the rape and murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 by then-serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens.

The Domestic and Sexual Offences (Daso) unit is now currently investigating 625 sexual and domestic abuse allegations against Met officers, ranging from "inappropriate behaviour" to criminal offences, as of August 18.

Alleged victims include members of the public and other police officers, with a significant number of cases being examined by the unit involving domestic abuse between a couple who are both serving in the police.

Detective Superintendent Annette Clark, Daso's senior leader, told the BBC the team's experience lies in safeguarding - "particularly understanding domestic abuse and understanding sexual offences" - rather than internal investigations.

Clark said her team is disgusted by the behaviour of abusive officers and warned: "We don't want them in the organisation and we need to get rid of them".

In the midst of these difficult times for the Met, Rowley has been setting out plans for his first 100 days as head of the Metropolitan Police, having started the job in September following the resignation of his predecessor Dame Cressida Dick earlier in the year.

Rowley led the UK counter-terrorism police office for four years and has said he wants the same techniques used to detect terrorists applied to other criminals, including sexual offenders. 

He told delegates: “What would the result be if you applied the data analytical approach used in counter-terrorism to solve violence against women and girls?

“Could it help us catch some of the worst offenders, to find the women and children most at risk as a priority and protect them? Could it also help our partners and other agencies best focus their efforts, too?

Last week, Rowley announced a new ‘Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command’ that would root out "criminal colleagues" and work to "identify and investigate those who are predatory, who abuse their position of trust - for their personal, financial or sexual advantage - whether on duty, off duty, in person or online."

He added: "You will see over my tenure, you will see more people being removed from the force for these sort of ghastly acts because we're going to turn the stones over."

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