Students and staff gain an insight into the future of policing


“We’re in the midst of a digital revolution,” says Senior Teaching Fellow Ron Winch, Course Director for MSc Policing and Intelligence Analysis at Birmingham City University, when discussing a recent conference the university hosted on Policing in the Age of the Machine. Police worldwide are now using facial recognition and other analytical tools to predict and prevent crime. That’s the central role of the Police, to prevent crime.

The conference was opened by BCU’s Executive Dean for the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences Professor Eileen McAuliffe and included contributions from West Midlands Police and French law enforcement expert Brigadier Patrick Perrot of the Gendarmerie. Brigadier Perrot has PhD in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is the Gendarmerie’s lead for AI and Data Analytics. He was in the UK to meet with The Home Office and The National Crime Agency to develop partnership arrangements between French and British law enforcement, but BCU’s reputation as a leader in this field of research meant he was keen to attend the conference.

Brigadier Perrot said, “I was very pleased to participate I the exchanges and present the Gendarmerie AI strategy for policing. Thanks to BCU for a well-organised event.”

The Gendarmerie has been investing in research and technology to develop best practices to share with other forces. This has been proven successful recently, increasing operational outcomes and a range of innovative initiatives which the Brigadier was keen to share.

Senior Teaching Fellow in Policing and Security Jonathan Jackson said, “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve. AI is here now, it’s not theoretical anymore and BCU is the heart of that. The cutting edge. Policing is all about preventing crime. The methods haven’t changed but the technology has.”

Detective Inspector Hinesh Mehta is the Cyber Crime Unit Manager for West Midlands Police and a Governor at BCU. He said, “The day was fantastic and allowed collaboration between international law enforcement agencies and academia on the topic of AI.  As AI technology becomes more ingrained in society having this sort of joint working will help in creating a fair, ethical, and safe society”

One great outcome of the conference was an agreement to offer students the opportunity to go and work and train with French police and create a community of practice. This is a massive benefit for students studying policing at BCU.

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