Investigating the impact of data analytics and data science on policing

by | Feb 22, 2019 | 0 comments

The N8 PRP Data Analytics Strand has launched a project seeking to understand how police forces utilise data analytics in their everyday decision making – but we need your help!

We aim to conduct several in-depth case studies looking at particular examples within N8 forces where data analytics technologies are being used to inform decisions/predictions. This will involve interviews with representatives of different functions within the force (such as analysts, frontline staff, and command/leadership) about their use of information generated through these analytics techniques, and about the impact this information has on everyday decision making.

We would like to ask for help from N8 forces in facilitating access to staff for further research interviews. We are planning to conduct the interviews between March 2019 and June 2019.

The project team is based at the University of Leeds and includes Professor David Allen, Aleksandra Irnazarow, Fiona McLaughlin and Dr Nick Malleson.

The topic of datafication in UK police services is a unique field of research as there is a growing use of data analytics, and the broader field of data science, in streamlining police procedures. This all sits within the context of limited budgets which has presented a crucial and immediate demand for smarter and leaner approaches. The decentralised nature of policing makes this an exciting field for research, as local police forces may have very different solutions to similar problems.

Our research team interviewed representatives of the N8 forces to scope out what kind of analytics technologies are already being used (or are on the cusp of implementation), identify common challenges and discuss how academic involvement can contribute to solving these challenges. The results of these initial consultations were presented to the N8 Steering Group during the 31 January meeting in Newcastle. Based on feedback from the N8 forces we decided to focus our project on how data analytics and data science are integrated into all levels of the decision-making process within forces, from senior management to frontline staff, and how this influences organisational performance.

What’s particularly exciting about this project is that we will be able to co-produce the research with active participation of N8 partners and generate an overview of actual practices of the use and implementation of data analytics. The findings will be disseminated to police partners in a series of workshops and a project report in early 2020. Ultimately we want to aid police forces in making the best possible use of both data science and data analytics technologies in the face of limited budgetary and human resources.

While research participants are currently limited to those in N8 forces, if you have a particular interest in this area of work and feel you could contribute, please do contact us and let us know.

If you would like to be involved in this project, have any further questions, or would like any other information about the project please contact Ms Aleksandra Irnazarow, Research Fellow in Data Analytics. Email: