On this page
Fair Trials’ tool shows how ‘predictive policing' discriminates and unjustly criminalises people
Today, Fair Trials has launched an interactive online tool designed to show how the police and other criminal justice authorities are using predictive systems to profile people and areas as criminal, even before alleged crimes have occurred.
Our research has shown that more and more police forces and criminal justice authorities across Europe are using automated and data-driven systems, including artificial intelligence (AI), to profile people and try and ‘predict their ‘risk’ of committing a crime in the future, as well as profile areas to ‘predict’ whether crime will occur there in future.
These systems are created and operated using discriminatory data, reinforcing structural and institutional inequalities across society and leading to unjust and racist outcomes. These predictions can lead to surveillance, questioning and home raids, and can influence pre-trial detention and sentencing decisions.
Fair Trials is calling on MEPs to ban predictive systems when they vote on the Artificial Intelligence Act in the upcoming months.
About Fair Trials’ predictive policing tool
The questions in our interactive tool directly match information that is actively used by law enforcement and criminal justice authorities in their own predictive and profiling systems and databases.
In real life, if a person fits just a few of the pieces of information (as asked by our questions), it can be enough to be marked as a ‘risk’. Likewise, if data about an area or neighbourhood fits a similar profile, it can be marked as a place where crime will occur in future.
Predictive policing and justice systems
Predictive systems have been shown to use discriminatory and flawed data and profiles to make these assessments and predictions. They try to determine someone’s risk of criminality or predict the locations of crime based on the following information:
- Family life and background
- Neighbourhoods and where people live
- Access or engagement with certain public services, like welfare, housing and/or healthcare
- Race and/or ethnicity
- Credit scores, credit rating or other financial information
- ‘Contact’ with the police – whether as a victim or witness to a crime, or as a suspect, even if not charged or convicted
Automating Injustice: the use of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making systems in criminal justice in Europe (2021)
AI Act: EU must ban predictive AI systems in policing and criminal justice (2022)
An EU Artificial Intelligence Act for Fundamental Rights: A Civil Society Statement (2022)