The Home Office has revealed plans to create a Crime Prevention Data Lab, aimed at building a better picture of the experiences and circumstances that could trigger a young person to pursue a life of crime.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the initiative in a speech outlining the Government’s package of anti-crime strategies. He said: “If we are to understand violence, we must also understand all its drivers and we in government are at the start of understanding how data can help us do that. Creating and understanding the causes and pathways to crime."
Javid cited recent analysis carried out by his own department which found that the top 5% crime hotspots accounted for 17% of the total volume of "acquisitive crime", such as burglaries and car thefts.
He added: “That is why the Home Office will be developing new proposals for a Crime Prevention Data Lab. We will be exploring how we can bring together information from the police and other agencies, to enhance our ability to make targeted and effective interventions.”
Industry body techUK hailed the move as recognition of the importance that data, and data-driven technologies, play in preventing crime.
In a statement, the organisation said: "We are keen to work with the Home Office, and others, to inform the work on a potential Crime Prevention Data Lab, and in turn, underpin a greater ability to make targeted and effective interventions.
"But [we urge] the Home Secretary to reach out to the UK’s vibrant and dynamic tech sector. Technology is going to be a significant part of the solution, from enabling collaboration to supporting the efficiency of our public safety service providers. We look forward to supporting the Government’s work in this area."