Title: Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing

Funding source: NordForsk project, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia.

Implementation period: 01.02.2021.–31.01.2024.

Coordinator: IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark). 

Latvian partners: Baltic Studies Centre; Institute of Legal Science, University of Latvia.

The Nordic-Baltic countries and the UK are considered leaders in the digitalisation of the public sector and have also established long-term cooperation with regards to law enforcement, an important function of the public sector. At the same time, law enforcement is currently going through a transformation by applying digital strategies to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, predict events and automate work in crime detection and prevention in several countries.

The use of data-driven innovations in police work has attracted considerable attention in policy circles, media coverage, and legal, and academic debates. However, these debates are largely speculative, focusing on the potential of new forms of police work. Little is known about how big data is adopted and adapted in law enforcement activities, nor are the consequences of these activities clear to the public. Furthermore, the growing role of data analytics in law enforcement brings into question how citizens’ rights are being protected. More broadly, how we understand ‘safety’ and ‘policing’ is being fundamentally transformed.

The aim of Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing (CUPP) is to investigate how institutional and social values, digital affordances, and organisational politics are conceived and embedded in data-driven police innovations, and experienced and practised by police officers and developers of digital police infrastructure in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. The case study in Latvia focuses on the use of cameras and visual data in enforcing road traffic regulations as the primary example of digitalization of law enforcement.

The CUPP project takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining Science and Technology Studies (STS), Critical Criminology, and Critical Big Data Studies to identify and explore the effects and impact of data-driven police technologies on society and end-users. CUPP will apply a three-phase methodological approach consisting of recent historiography, fieldwork and interviews, and collaborative interventionist analysis. The research team will generate vital new insights about how law enforcement is conceived and practised in the digitalised state, as well as how public participation and scrutiny is ensured in the procurement, implementation and use of digital infrastructures. Additionally, the research will shed light on what social and political values are inscribed within digital solutions.

For more information please visit the project's website .


Scientific publications produced in the project with the involvement of BSC researchers:

- Barkane, I., Adamsone-Fiskovica, A., Kilis, E. 2023. Creeping road traffic surveillance in Latvia: social and legal implications of digital policing tools. Surveillance & Society, 21 (4): 432-446.