Norfolk Police dismiss claims that a computer will decide if house burglaries will be investigated

PUBLISHED: 08:19 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:00 02 September 2018

Police say claims they use a computer to decide if a burglary is worth investigating is inaccurate Picture: Denise Bradley

Police say claims they use a computer to decide if a burglary is worth investigating is inaccurate Picture: Denise Bradley


Norfolk Police today dismissed as “inaccurate” claims in a national newspaper that a computer will decide if it is “worthwhile” investigating house burglaries.

The story claims Norfolk Constabulary use a computer programme to judge whether or not to investigate a break-in after using a machine which “calculates the chances of making an arrest and recovering treasured stolen goods.”

The article also alleges hundreds of burglary investigations have been “quietly closed” by the police force after using the technique.

But Norfolk Constabulary has said that the story is inaccurate.

In a statement the force said: “We are aware of an inaccurate story published around the investigation of burglaries by Norfolk Constabulary and want to reassure the public that every crime reported to us, including burglaries, is reviewed by a member of staff before any investigation decision is made.”

The statement goes onto to say the force is testing an algorithm, to see whether it can assist with whether burglary investigations should be followed up with further enquiries but that all cases are trials and are overseen by members of the investigation unit.

“Using the analysis of thousands of burglary cases in Norfolk, the algorithm is based on 29 factors including solvability, against which each burglary incident is assessed. This generates a recommendation on whether the case should then be allocated for further enquiries.

“However, all cases including those in the trial, are still overseen by members of the Norfolk Investigation Management Unit and the recommendations made by the algorithm can and will be overridden if the member of staff feels there are further enquiries which need to be conducted.

“The results of the trial will be evaluated before any decision is made on future use.”

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