The relationship between technology and policing has evolved significantly over time, with new technologies playing a crucial role in shaping the police as a professional institution. For example, since the late 19th century, advances in communications and transportation have enabled the bureaucratisation of law enforcement, creating a more organised and politically autonomous system. Today, facial recognition and cell-site simulators are driving another dramatic expansion of police productivity and capability, but these technologies also pose serious risks of misuse and exacerbate existing inequalities within the criminal justice system.
Algorithmic policing encompasses a range of law enforcement technologies and practices that rely on or contribute to the systematic collection and processing of data. Algorithmic policing can be divided into two main types: predictive policing and algorithmic surveillance. Predictive policing technologies can target specific locations or individuals, using data to predict potential criminal activity. This data is often provided by algorithmic surveillance technologies that automate the data collection process.
This project provides an accessible overview of the technologies used as part of algorithmic policing and some of the debates taking place around the use of these technologies, with the aim of providing a basis for further discussion and reflection on the issue.