Predictive policing

MQT on 2013-09-11
Session date: 
September 11, 2013
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


A predictive policing model used in Kent led to a 10% reduction in crime and had a particularly strong impact on violent crime. In your role as occupant of MOPAC would you encourage the Metropolitan police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, to pilot a similar model in a London borough?


Answer for Predictive policing

Answer for Predictive policing

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Very good idea, Roger, as usual. Actually there are lots of predictive policing pilots that are underway in the Metropolitan Police Service and there are positive indications that it is leading to a reduction in burglary and, of course as you know, we have got the target of a 20% reduction in neighbourhood crime by 2020.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): Thank you, Mr Mayor. I think that predictive policing is a very --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Sorry, by 2016.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): I think predictive policing is a very exciting initiative which offers the opportunity of great benefits for our City in the future. In the Kent case, which I referred to in the question, not only was there a 10% reduction in crime generally on the pilot, but in the Medway Thames there was a 6% reduction in on-street violence, which is something I think we will be particularly pleased to see in part of the city. The Kent model actually provides the facility to update police officers twice per day on the crimes which are going on in their patch and they can use that to decide where they are going to focus their resources.

Are you going to examine what is happening in Kent in more detail so that we can actually have some of those benefits here in London as well?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, I am grateful. We are examining what they are doing in Kent. This is a technique that is pioneered by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) under Bill Bratton [Chief of Police] and the predictive analysis mapping has been made available to 14 of the boroughs so far is going to be fully implemented by April next year.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): I am pleased you mentioned Los Angeles. The Police Chief there, and I am not sure if it was Bill Bratton who said this, but it was one of their police commanders, said, and I quote,

'I'm not going to get any more money and I'm not going to get any more cops. I have to be better at using what I have and that is what predictive policing is about.'

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, that is a point you could make to public.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): In Los Angeles burglaries are down by 33%, violent crime is down by 21%, as a result of predictive policing.

Do you understand the resource dilemma which they are facing in Los Angeles and we are facing here, and the benefits that we can achieve?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. I mean, obviously I think it would be a little bit unfortunate to try to compare crime rates with Los Angles with crime rates in London, Roger. Not even the most indefatigable British Conservative admirer of American policing could possible think that they are doing better than us, because they are not. Our City is far safer and we have far less crime of virtually every type in London than they do in Los Angles. That is why I slightly resist these sorts of slavish comparisons with great American urban success stories. Actually London has a very, very good record of driving down crime and we are going to continue to do it. This technique of using predictive policing maps is very interesting and we are certainly exploring it, as I say, and it will be on stream in full next year.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): I think you made a very fair point there about comparisons, but if a project like this works so well under the very testing conditions which are prevalent in places like Los Angles, then surely we should expect even better results if we were to apply something similar to London.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): Would it also help us actually with the Metropolitan Police Service's relationship with Londoners? Because we would maybe be able to reduce the number of unnecessary stops and searches which take place, and replace that with a more intelligence-led approach which targets the locations where crime takes place and the individuals who are committing that crime?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): That is a very thoughtful point. It may be that that will be a benefit. As I say, it is showing signs of working here. We do a lot of this stuff anyway. This is not new to the Metropolitan Police Service. They have had a computer statistics (COMSTAT) style system for a long time, as everybody who was on the old Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) knows. Every morning in the boroughs, generally they look at the statistics, they look at where crime is up or down and they try to work out what needs to be done. Yes, there are already very detailed crime maps that show the hotspots and that show where the problems are. If we can now refine that even further with this predictive technique to bring crime down then obviously we are going to do that.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): Just finally, Mr Mayor, talking about stop and search, at the Stop and Search Working Group last week, a couple of witnesses voiced the view that police officers from areas outside the centre of London, Essex was used as an example, are not capable of understanding the inner City culture and policing the centre of town properly. Would you refute that point of view and thank officers who take part in the Metropolitan Police Service, who may not come from the centre of London but who still have a valid contribution to make?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Of course. I do not know who made that suggestion, but that goes without saying.

Roger Evans (Deputy Chairman): Thank you.