Researchers at Cardiff University are looking for members of the public to take part in their social experiment on Crime Prevention. The experiment is designed to help us find out more about how people think about crime and the behaviours they adopt to prevent crime happening to them. All you have to do is watch some short films online and answer some questions about your reactions to the information you have just seen. Results from everyone who takes part will then be used to help the police better understand how and when they can best communicate with people about preventing crime. Please help make a difference and click here to take part.
The spies can't defeat extremist violence on their own
By Martin Innes for Prospect Magazine
David Cameron’s immediate response to the Paris terrorist attacks was to announce a significant rise in staffing and funding for the intelligence services, thus improving its capacity and capability to identify and understand the spectrum of terrorist risks.
But, crucial as it is, intelligence is not evidence. Intelligence cannot be used in courts to form the basis of a criminal case—and prosecution is the most effective way of preventing the development of long-term terrorist threats. A jailed terrorist is an inactive one. Funding the police, then, is not just a law and order issue. Police work is now central to Britain’s anti-terror effort.
The scale and intensity of the terrorist threat is increasing. Seven plots have been thwarted in Britain in the past 12 months, and over 3,000 individuals require active monitoring (up from 1,600 in 2006). British police are arresting at least one person per day under counter-terrorism legislation. There has also been huge growth in the volume of electronic communications that have to be monitored for intelligence purposes. So it is perhaps not surprising that, in the case of every recent major European terrorist attack, the assailants were already known to the intelligence agencies.
This has led to the increasing use of disruption as a tactic for neutralising terrorist threats. In policing and security agency parlance, disruption refers to operations designed to inhibit terrorist plots, often without seeking a legal prosecution, by for example, blocking terrorists’ access to resources, or simply by letting targets know that they are being watched. A counter-terrorism officer, whom I interviewed on the subject of the 2005 London bombings, described the potential utility of disruption to me, saying:
“There was a three-month window of opportunity before Sidique Khan and his comrades committed the attack… The reason the Service [MI5] said they weren’t pursuing them was because they weren’t high enough on the Intel radar. However, why didn’t we just send a couple of uniformed officers to knock on the door and say ‘Hi Mohammad, I’m from the counter-terrorism unit, we really need to have a chat.’ Very, very powerful, that.”
Colin Roberts wins The AGI Award for the Best Paper within the Event Programme for his presentation: Future Cities: Security, London - Will Smarter Cities Be Safer Cities?
The AGI awards recognise excellence and foster a spirit of innovation within the industry. The AGI Awards for Geospatial Excellence help to generate open and engaging competition which is relevant to all practitioners using location-based technologies and data.Providing a better insight into progress across the industry, and to support development of our professionals throughout their careers, each one of this year’s awards should inspire us to think about how we best approach and engage with the many challenges where we have the potential to impact, influence and help develop integrated and embedded solutions. The winner from each category was announced and presented with their Award at the Annual Awards Ceremony on the 25th November 2015 at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth.
Terror and the impact of social media
Friday's terror attacks in Paris received huge attention over social media. There has been an unprecedented expression of solidarity and sorrow over Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
Research shows that social media are changing the way we relate to terror – both the attacks themselves and their aftermath. Attacks are having more widespread and longer-lasting impacts.
The ubiquity of smartphones means that terror attacks can almost be followed in real-time. One of the people trapped in the Bataclan concert venue during the Paris attacks described what was happening and pleaded for rescue. A video was posted online showing the moment the concert was interrupted by shooting.
Social media is changing the speed of how the public learns about terrorist attacks, and the way they react. The first information to the public about incidents is now likely to come through social media channels such as Twitter rather than through traditional news outlets.
The research project 'After Woolwich', led by Professor Martin Innes at Cardiff University, analysed social reactions to the 2013 murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich using social media data collected from Twitter, blogs and other sources. The data has enabled researchers to track how public perceptions evolved as key events occurred, from the crime scene through to the conclusion of the court case, to understand how public opinion is shaped and evolves throughout the events.
Findings confirmed that social media are becoming a key information source and increasingly important in influencing the public's understanding of terror attacks and what happens in the aftermath. There were in excess of 800 tweets a minute about the Lee Rigby murder at its peak.
This use of social media has implications for the first response by police to such attacks, with witnesses tweeting directly from the scene. The research suggests that there is a need to improve strategic communications capacity and capability in the initial response phase to inform the public about what is actually happening, in order to counteract rumours and conspiracy theories.
Not only first response strategies are needed. The rapid and wide reach of social media also means that the impacts of terrorist attacks on people and communities are becoming more widespread and longer-lasting – creating a need for management strategies encompassing different agencies that address the longer-term community impacts.
Congratulations to UPSI’s Dr Colin Roberts, whose presentation “Will Smarter Cities Be safer Cities?” was voted favourite at the recent Geo Big 5 event: Future Cities. The paper has been nominated for The AGI Award for the Best Paper within the Event Programme and the overall winner of the award will be announced and presented at the Annual Awards Ceremony on the 25th November 2015.
The AGI Awards Ceremony is a prestigious event, which recognises the very best achievements in the field of Geographic information in the UK throughout the year. The awards recognise excellence and foster a spirit of innovation within the industry.
His talk was based on the research to date on emerging vulnerabilities posed by the development of Smart Cities, carried out on behalf of the College of Policing 'What Works Centre for Crime Reduction’, which is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The research seeks to synthesize the knowledge from a highly technical discourse provided by leading commercial, governmental, scientific and security professionals working on Smart Cities, and what this may mean for policing, crime and society in an accessible way. The presentation discussed the emerging risk profile; the cost, risk and benefits debate; trust and the Faustian pact between providers and users; governance and regulation; and the challenge of enabling society not disabling it.
Martin Innes quoted in The Economist: Britain’s separate police forces should make much better use of technology
BRITISH bobbies are looking rather blue these days. Their budget may be cut by as much as 25-40%. Crime has fallen, but officers’ workload has not. According to the Metropolitan Police some four-fifths of calls that they take are not to do with crime but require close attention even so. And those offences that have increased in frequency, such as domestic violence, need particularly careful handling. But whereas forces around the world make better use of technology, Britain’s lag behind.
America does better, says Martin Innes at Cardiff University, probably because it has to: the country has many small police forces that have needed to learn to share information.
Job: Centre Manager, Crime and Security University Research Institute, Cardiff School of Social Sciences
The Crime and Security University Research Institute is seeking to recruit a Centre Manager. The Research Institute spans across three Colleges within Cardiff University, College of Biological and Life Sciences (BLS), College of Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE), College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) and is headed by three Directors, one from each of the three colleges.
Over the past decade several of Cardiff University's research units have achieved international renown for their work across different areas relating to crime and security studies. With an interdisciplinary focus, the new Security and Crime Research Institute brings together this significant expertise from across the University's three colleges, drawing upon collective experience of crime, security and justice, as well as exploring new areas of expertise to complement the existing portfolio. Building upon existing external partnerships, including those with research collaborators such as IBM, South Wales Police, the College of Policing and Productive Margins, the research institute is committed to upholding a record of achieving real-world impact from our research findings.
The Centre Manager will be required to lead and manage the operational and administrative aspects of the Research Institute.
This position is fixed term for 5 years and is available immediately.
Salary: £39,685 - £45,954 per annum (Grade 7)
This is a full time position although consideration will be given to applicants wishing to work part-time with a minimum of 28 hours per week
Date advert posted: 24 September 2015
Closing date: Monday, 12 October 2015
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO APPLY
The Universities’ Police Science Institute (UPSI) at Cardiff University have secured funding via the College of Policing’s Police Knowledge Fund to establish the Open Source Communications, Analytics and Research (OSCAR) Development Centre.
The College of Policing, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Home Office launched the £10m Police Knowledge Fund earlier this year to encourage collaboration between academia and police forces and to increase evidence-based knowledge, skills and problem solving approaches within policing. UPSI is one of 14 successful bids announced by the College today.
Cardiff University will host the new centre, working with key project partners the UK wide National Counter-Terrorism Functions Command who “are excited and fully committed to supporting this important project.” alongside South Wales Police & OPCC, University of Surrey, West Midlands Police, Surrey Police, Sussex Police, Cardiff Council and Safer Sutton Partnership.
Open source information is any public information that can be accessed without covert methods or interception. OSCAR is an innovative, multi-disciplinary centre bringing together academics and Police practitioners to develop a research evidence base around the use of open source information and its transformative potential for the future of Policing.
Director of the Centre, Prof. Martin Innes said: "We know that new technologies like social media are transforming the ways people relate, communicate and interact with other. And we are increasingly aware that such developments present both challenges and opportunities for the police. The work of the Open Source Communications Analysis Research (OSCAR) Centre will seek to develop new insights into how police can harness these new sources of information across their investigative, intelligence and engagement functions, ranging from counter-terrorism to community policing. With our partners this is about designing new and innovative policing responses to ensure that we are not trying to tackle 21st Century problems with 20th Century policing models."
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said, “I am delighted to be supporting this successful funding bid for the new centre. Social media and other open sources of communication play an increasingly important role in understanding local needs and threats in order to deliver community policing. This successful bid builds on pioneering work between South Wales Police and Cardiff University that we’ve been developing for several years now and recognises the importance of how new technology can support approaches to policing that are based on evidence and what works”.
The FBI has identified 21-year-old Dylann Roof as the suspect in the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, after his uncle reportedly recognised him from the surveillance camera photo released by police.A picture of Roof on his Facebook profile showed him wearing the Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the South African apartheid flags pinned on his jacket.
Before firing on a Bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he allegedly said: "I have to do it. You rape our women. You're taking over our country. And you have to go". Shortly after news of the shooting broke, Charleston police chief Greg Mullen said he believed the attack was a hate crime.
Colin Roberts, who leads the research programme on counter-terrorism policing at Cardiff University's UPSI (Universities' Police Science Institute), told IBTimes UK the key question about the Charleston shooting is what catalysed the gunman to carry out the attack.
He said: "They may feel for example that what has happened previously completely justifies or vindicates their world view and they ought to do something. That they're going to make a stand.
"But until we know more about this individual, it's very hard to make any assumptions about it – for example did they have access to right-wing material, what was the motivation? It could be domestic. We don't' know.
"If he has been influenced by extreme far-right material – which is highly available in the US – the question is why now?"
Nesta Working Paper: ‘Soft Facts’ and Spontaneous Community Mobilisation: The Role of Rumour After Major Crime Events
Innovation charity Nesta has grant funded a number of research projects that explore two dimensions of how big and open data can be used for the common good. Firstly, how it can be used by charities to develop better products and services and secondly, how it can help those interested in civil society better understand social action and civil society activity. The Universities’ Police Science Institute (UPSI) is one of five organisations to receive funding under the scheme to explore how data–driven methods, such as open data analysis and social media analysis, can help us understand informal social action, often referred to as ‘below the radar activity’ in new ways.
The project brings together researchers from both UPSI and Cardiff’s School of Computer Sciences to examine how social media increasingly shapes and frames processes of community mobilisation following major crime events. In so doing, it illuminates social reactions that are frequently ‘seen but unnoticed’ in the aftermath of high profile crimes. Pivoting around several case studies of community mobilization in difficult and emotionally tense situations, the analysis distils some generalisable lessons about how social media are transforming the ways contemporary social life is organised.
The early results of the study have been published as a working paper ‘Soft Facts’ and Spontaneous Community Mobilisation: The Role of Rumour After Major Crime Events written by Colin Roberts, Martin Innes, Alun Preece and Irena Spasic.
ESRC Terrorism, Security and Social Media Briefing on UPSI and Cardiff School of Computer Science Research into Community Impacts of Lee Rigby Murder
The recent terror attack in Tunisia highlights the ongoing risk of terrorism both abroad and in the UK, where the threat level of terrorism is ranked as 'severe'. Social media has increased the community impact of terror attacks, and ESRC research shows the need for post-event strategy measures to deal with this impact.
Social media is changing the speed of how the public learns about terrorist attacks, and the way they react. The first information to the public about incidents is now likely to come through social media channels such as Twitter rather than through traditional news outlets.
The ubiquity of smartphones means that information can be spread to a wide audience in real-time, providing details about the attack and police response, and updates on further developments. This new reality means that policymakers, security services and police forces need to consider the impact of social media in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, in terms of response planning for terrorist incidents, rapid dissemination of information and criminal investigation procedures.
The research project 'After Woolwich' is analysing social reactions to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on 22 May 2013 using social media data collected from Twitter, blogs and other sources. The data has enabled researchers to track how public perceptions and sentiments evolved in real-time as key events occurred, from the crime scene through to the conclusion of the court case, to understand how public opinion is shaped and evolves throughout the events.
Read full ESRC briefing: www.esrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/publications/evidence-briefings/security-terrorism-social-media.aspx
UPSI Work on Rural Policing for Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioners Office Informs Neighbourhood Policing Strategy
Local bobbies with local knowledge making local decisions – they’re crucial to helping residents of rural Wales feel safe.
High-level new research by the Universities' Police Science Institute and Aberystwyth University reveals that communities want stronger neighbourhood bonds with the police.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon, who funded the work known as Rural Connect, said: “Local policing is vital. I want officers to know - and be known - in their communities. That way we build trust and confidence.
In light of the report, Mr Salmon’s actions will include exploring:
- Better mobility for local officers, including cycles and mopeds;
- More Special Constables with specialist local or professional knowledge;
- A Say Hello! campaign encouraging officers and public to speak more often.
- Local initiatives to replace ineffective PACT meetings;
- More public access to mediation.
He is already considering how schools work can become the responsibility of local officers.
He wants a better 101 system, more investment in police IT, a review of police middle management and to review provision of the Bobby Van service – “Its withdrawal was a mistake.”
The research was led by the Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI) based at Cardiff University and used the expertise of Aberystwyth University’s Department of Law and Criminology.
It included detailed discussions with members of the public, police officers and police staff. The sessions were run by UPSI, the Commissioner’s Office and Dyfed-Powys Police.
The key question was: “How can the police best connect with people living in rural communities?”
The Changing Face of Policing in Austerity and How ASB Victims are Increasingly Being Dealt With by PCSO’s
Researchers from the Universities’ Police Science Institute at Cardiff University have published findings from a study commissioned by Welsh Government to assess the impact of deploying an additional 500 Community Support Officers (CSOs) across Welsh Police forces. The study examines how police forces are using these CSOs to respond to the challenges of austerity and reductions in police funding, focusing upon their impacts in terms of making communities safer.
The key finding from the research is that CSOs are playing an increasingly important role in how police forces are responding to and managing anti-social behaviour problems. Over the past three years the amount of ASB being dealt with by CSOs as opposed to police officers has risen substantially across the majority of areas examined.
The research also identifies a different trajectory in the public face of policing in Wales compared with England. Whilst the number of police officers has fallen across both countries, the additional CSOs in Wales have mitigated the reduction and its potential impact on community engagement through maintaining a neighbourhood policing presence. This is in contrast to England where police visibility has declined.
Evidence compiled by the research team identifies that the four forces in Wales are using CSOs to deliver different services to local communities. These differences can be summarised as:
• Community Support: CSOs focus on developing familiarity with the communities they serve, providing a visible and accessible service to reassure the public.
• Police Support: CSOs are providing a vital support function to their police officer colleagues, performing community-based tasks associated with many aspects of the policing remit.
Talking about the findings, UPSI Director Prof. Martin Innes says: "This is the most comprehensive study yet conducted of the work of Police Community Safety Officers and how policing is responding to austerity. Our evidence shows that the public face of policing has been changing and that when members of the public are victims of ASB they will increasingly be dealing with PCSOs rather than police officers."
Click Here to Download the Full Report http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/research-deployment-work-500-welsh-government-funded-community-support-officers/?lang=en
Nesta Report 'Data for Good' feat chapter by UPSI and Cardiff University Researchers on Community Mobilisation After Lee Rigby Murder
New ways of capturing, sharing and analysing data have the potential to transform how community and voluntary sector organisations work and how social action happens. However, while analysing and using data is core to how some of the world’s fastest growing businesses understand their customers and develop new products and services, civil society organisations are still some way off from making the most of this potential.
Over the last 12 months Nesta has grant funded a number of research projects that explore two dimensions of how big and open data can be used for the common good. Firstly, how it can be used by charities to develop better products and services and secondly, how it can help those interested in civil society better understand social action and civil society activity.
Five organisations, including UPSI were grant funded to explore how data–driven methods, such as open data analysis and social media analysis, can help us understand informal social action, often referred to as ‘below the radar activity’ in new ways.
The report Data For Good includes a chapter highlighting UPSI's work, funded by Nesta, entitled Soft facts and spontaneous community mobilisation: the role of rumour after major crime events written by Colin Roberts, Martin Innes, Alun Preece and Irena Spasic.
More information on Nesta's work can be found at www.nesta.org.uk
Wales Report went on the beat with the police in Wales, amid concerns over the impact of further budget cuts, and on the future shape of local government in Wales, Wales Report speaks to public services minister Leighton Andrews and UPSI's Prof. Martin Innes
Watch full report here: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051r1tw
Strategic Police-Community Engagement: A Report to the Scottish Police Authority
by Martin Innes
The report was commissioned by the Scottish Police Authority to examine the issue of strategic police community engagement in England and Wales. It addresses a notable gap in the research evidence base in that, whilst there has been considerable attention paid to operational and tactical forms of engagement often in relation to community policing programmes, more strategic uses have been neglected. The analysis conducted is used to inform a position about how and why the development of a methodology for strategic engagement by police organisations is likely to be significant in the future. For the purposes of this report ‘strategic community engagement’ is defined as formal interaction and communication with members of the public that is undertaken to inform policy development and strategic decision making. In this sense, it is distinct from more operational forms of engagement that directly shape service delivery at a local level.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is running a series of regional experts meetings to consider use of force by police forces and other law enforcement agencies as well as by private security providers in partnership with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (Geneva Academy). The meetings, which bring together governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental experts from each region, are looking in particular at how the 1990 Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials have been reflected in national legislation and operational policies and procedures across the region.
The meetings include consideration of key issues from each region, including, as a cross-cutting theme, the treatment and protection of vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities, children, and women. The Geneva Academy will research and draft a background paper on applicable international law and policies to be circulated to participants in advance of each experts meeting. Experts will be asked to deliver presentations on their national or regional framework and experiences. The aim of the meetings is to share lessons learned and identify good practice at national and regional level, with a view to feeding into the Thirteenth Crime Congress in Doha in April 2015.
UPSI's Dr. Colin Roberts joins the meeting in Tunis, which brings together experts from the Middle East and North Africa region, to speak on the UNBPUFF Special Provisions on the use of lethal force and firearms.
UPSI and Dyfed-Powys Police are helping set up a centre of excellence to improve rural policing with the Police Commissioner saying it will lead to people feeling safer.
Christopher Salmon said rural policing developments have been "neglected" compared with urban policing.
The College of Policing, responsible for the training and development of police officers, has given £44,000 towards setting up the project.
It will work with academics to develop and share best practice with police.
Dyfed-Powys Police and the commissioner will collaborate with the Cardiff-based Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI) and others specialists at Aberystwyth University and University of Wales Trinity Saint David to start a "high-level network to develop new expertise in keeping rural communities safe from crime".
...little attention has been directed to the particular policing needs of people living and working in rural areas”
Christopher Salmon Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commisioner
Mr Salmon said: "The work we do with UPSI and others will lead to people in some of our most isolated areas feeling safer.
"What works in policing in rural areas and communities is an issue that has been neglected by researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
Oxford University Press blog by Martin Innes
Signal crimes change how we think, feel, and act — altering perceptions of the distribution of risks and threats in the world. Sometimes, as with the recent assassinations and mass shootings in France, sending a message is the intention of the criminal act. The attackers’ target selection of the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine, and that of taking and killing Jewish hostages, was deliberately designed to send messages to individuals and institutions.
Researchers examine social reactions to different kinds of crime events and the signals they send to a range of audiences. The aim is to determine how and why certain kinds of incidents and situations generate fear and anxiety responses that travel widely and, by extension, how processes of social reaction to such events are managed and influenced by the authorities.
The murder of Lee Rigby in London in 2013 can be understood as a signal crime as it triggered concern amongst the general public and across security institutions, owing to the macabre innovation of the killers in undertaking a brutally simple form of assault. Analysis of the crime has identified a number of key components to the overarching process of social reaction. Observing how events have unfolded in France, the collective reactions have followed a similar trajectory to what happened in London.
UPSI to launch report on spontaneous community mobilisation in the aftermath of the Lee Rigby murder at NESTA event on Big & Open Data
UPSI's Director Prof. Martin Innes and Prof. Alun Preece from Cardiff University's School of Computer Sciences will officially launch a report on spontaneous community mobilisation in the aftermath of the Lee Rigby murder at NESTA's event on Big & Open Data For The Common Good.
The free event will take place in London on the 18th February.
The day will include presentation and discussion of the following projects:
Analysing data to identify emerging social issues: Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Datakind have partnered to explore how a data driven approach to mining the rich data that CAB hold on social issues in the UK can be used to develop a national map of emerging social issues, such as payday loans.
Understanding hidden social action: Nesta has funded 5 research grants to explore how data driven methods, such as open data analysis and social media analysis, can help us understand new types of informal social action, often referred to as “below the radar activity”.
360 giving: Nesta’s work with Indigo Trust to develop a funder-collaborative that is openly publishing spending data from the UK’s major funding bodies and philanthropists. 360giving will help the sector create better intelligence on its activities and will ultimately enable more effective collaborations and decision making.
Open Data Challenge Series: Through Nesta’s partnership with the Open Data Institute, this series of Challenge prizes is encouraging teams to develop viable products and services for social good using open data predominantly from the public sector.