Martin Innes discusses role of social media in analysing extremism at Conference for Global Mayors and Police Chiefs

Professor Martin Innes, director of the Cardiff University-led Universities’ Police Science Institute was the only independent academic invited to present at an International conference for mayors and Police chiefs from the world's largest cities.  The Professor's presentation focused on the role of social media in analysing extremism in the community, and he shared details of the European Commission funded TaRDiS project, run by the Institute and Cardiff’s School of Computer Science and Informatics.

The project, which also involves the London Borough of Sutton and the Police Academy of the Netherlands aims to explore how the risks of radicalisation can be reduced.

TaRDiS will develop new community intelligence methods that will enable European authorities to better detect a variety of risks and threats posed by different forms of extremism. This involves building and testing a tool to track community reactions to key signal events by analysing aggregate patterns in social media traffic.

Professor Innes said: “There are potentials and pitfalls for the police with the large volumes of social media data that are out there. Currently too much attention is focused on collecting this data and not enough on how it should be analysed and interpreted. Our work on the TaRDiS project which I will be speaking about the conference, has developed some innovative tools for analysing social media. We are able to show the complex community reactions that occur in the aftermath of high profile crimes such as the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich ”