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Minority Report: UK Police Considers Using Crime Predicting Software

The Hollywood science fiction film Minority Report depicted a futuristic scenario in which a Pre-Crime department of the police arrests criminals for crimes before they actually get around to committing them. Predicting crimes probably won’t ever reach that extreme, but we may be moving a step closer to crime prediction as a serious policing tool. British police are currently in talks with New Zealand technology firm the Wynyard Group, who specialize in “advanced crime analytics”, regarding a crime predictive software called “Person of Interest” (POI).

The POI technology collates data on known offenders and “at risk” individuals, and, by comparing this data against emails, text messages, and social media files, alerts police officers to a potential impending threat. According to Paul Stokes, Wynyard’s chief operating officer, “It tells you in real-time that these people have done something abnormal and you need to go check on them. Something unusual is starting to happen. Let’s get there before something really bad happens.” The Wynyard Group have worked with intelligence agencies such as the FBI and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and POI technology is currently employed by the New Zealand police.




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