Police to 'predict which men will sexually assault women and girls'

13 October 2022, 09:20 | Updated: 13 October 2022, 09:22

Police are set to use data to predict which men will commit sexual assaults
Police are set to use data to predict which men will commit sexual assaults. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The Met Police will start using data to predict which men will commit violence against women and girls, its most senior officer has said.

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In a move reminiscent of the Tom Cruise sci-fi film Minority Report, London's police officers will be able to track the tens of thousands of men in the capital who commit "abhorrent" crimes against women and girls.

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Speaking to the Exceptional Policing conference on Wednesday, Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: "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.

"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 against 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."

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Sir Mark, the UK's former counter-terrorism policing boss, said he wants the same techniques that he used to detect terrorists to catch alleged sex 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?

Sir Mark Rowley
Sir Mark Rowley. Picture: Getty

"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?

"With thousands of people repeatedly identified as suspects, but where there is sometimes insufficient evidence to prosecute, but could we start to rank-order some of the most dangerous offenders now at large in our city?"

Police making a stop in London
Police making a stop in London. Picture: Alamy

It comes after the Met Police halted plans to stop recording the ethnicity of drivers they stop, after a one-month pilot showed white drivers were slightly less likely to be stopped.

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A spokesperson for the Met said: “We understand community concerns about road traffic stops and part of answering those concerns is to look at the data.“The Mayor’s Action Plan on Accountability and Trust in Policing asked the Metropolitan Police to run a pilot to record the ethnic background of drivers stopped by police under s163 Road Traffic Act.

Tom Cruise In 'Minority Report'
The new powers could be compared to the 2002 Tom Cruise film Minority Report. Picture: Getty

“The MPS is aware that other forces are exploring similar pilots, and will consider any outputs from those pilots.

“As we said in the June 2022 report, the National Police Chief’s Council and College of Policing race Action Plan calls for all forces to record the ethnicity of those involved in traffic stops.

Read more: UK to send anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine after wave of Russian rocket attacks

“The Met is now actively working with the National Race Action plan team on the commitment to record ethnicity of traffic stops.”

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