Mobilising Data – Hackathon!

March 25, 2019 – March 26, 2019 all-day
TBC, Leeds, UK
Matt Butler

In March 2019 (date to be confirmed) the N8 Police Research Partnership’s Data Analytics Strand will be hosting a Data Mobilisation Event in Leeds.The model for this event is the hackathon. Hackathons are well established in the business world: Interested practitioners try to solve hard problems cooperatively using organisational data. At this event we will bring together police expertise, data and questions with university research, data science skills and technological capacity. The aim is that everybody wins via the coproduction of better evidence-based policing and more impactful university research. Put simply, it’s a police-athon.

Police are data rich organisations. But much of that data is captured for routine housekeeping and operational purposes, and is under-utilised as a means of informing strategy, tactics and resource allocation. Focusing police resources – getting the grease to the squeak – requires data analysis informed by domain expertise, local knowledge and good practice. The broader context is that policing has also changed in response to the changing shape of crime and disorder, technological advancement, and increasingly diverse demands on fewer resources.

Police data include the ‘traditional’ recorded crime, calls for service and back-office administrative statistics. Increasingly however they also include the big data that emerges through the exhaust pipe of routine police activities: consider the tens of millions of ANPR images captured every day in the UK alone; or CCTV (and the overlap with the private sector); police communications systems; body worn cameras; continual geo-tracking of mobile police resources (officers and vehicles). These data represent a wealth of opportunity that remains largely unexploited.

Data analytics are also evolving rapidly. This has brought improvements both in terms of capacity (the volume and type of data that can be processed) and technique (under the umbrella term Data Science). These changes mean that policing does not have the infrastructure or expertise to fully exploit all the data it gathers. At the same time, while universities often possess the analytic expertise and infrastructure they lack the data and real-world problems that need to be addressed.

The N8 PRP’s data mobilisation event seeks to combine these police and university skills and resources to coproduce solutions to difficult problems, and ultimately inform a broader evidence base. The vision is that some of these processes and collaborations would, over time, become systematised to the benefit of all: policing gains a stronger research arm and more informed decision-making; universities develop research that generates real world impact. It is true that police and universities have worked together and shared data many times before, but not in the way envisaged here. Our goal is to seed collaborative work that combines the best of both partners to address the most important questions. At its most ambitious, the aim is to seek out new questions and new approaches, to boldly go to new frontiers of police problem-solving.

Partners can get involved in one of two ways. You can register for the event and be enthusiastic taking part in discussions on the day, or, you can register and make a submission to the event (and be enthusiastic too!). We are particularly interested in these prior submissions: they can be specific questions or problems that need solutions now, broad research themes where an organisation may wish to engage in collaborative research, or little interesting ideas/datasets which might one day inform larger efforts. If you have ideas please submit them – having these submissions in advance will ensure we make the most of the day and that the right people are in the room. The online platform we are using is the Data Analytics Digital Service (DADS) Forum. Submissions can address any area of policing, and can be brief concepts or more fully developed agendas. The key is that there is data to help solve the problem, or you think data analytics methodologies might be able to help. We look forward to seeing you there.

Mobilising Data is an opportunity to develop the dialogue between policing and academia in a way that supports policy development and evidence based practice. Experts, scholars and practitioners will explore how innovations in data exploitation can be applied to address emergent policing challenges and develop a research agenda around the most important questions for policing data analytics. 

How will this work?

During the event:

  • Attendees will hear from keynote speaker Professor Gloria Laycock OBE on the importance of policing and academic partnerships.
  • We will then split into groups to identify and understand emerging challenges in policing and discuss how police data and analytics could be applied to help solve them.
  • Throughout the day we will encourage ideas from multiple sources and perspectives. There will be opportunities to feedback these discussions to the wider audience in open sessions and through networking.
  • An introduction to the Data Analytics Digital Service (DADS) and how it can be used to support policing research and in developing research networks. Post event, attendees will have access to the N8 PRP Data Analytics Digital Service (DADS) to formalise research proposals, request data and continue to build their networks.

Register for the Event

Please register your interest in attending the event using the form below. Places will be confirmed at a later date.

Fields marked with an * are required

Making a Submission

To discuss the option of submitting a round table discussion topic please contact the Project Manager, Steph Abraham

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