Predictive Policing: Is It Really an Innovation?

  • Lúcia Gouveia Pais Instituto Superior de Ciências Policiais e Segurança Interna
Keywords: predictive policing


Predictive policing: Is it really an innovation?

The novelty of predictive policing, its goals and promises, are put under criticism and discussion. In the last few years predictive policing have been presented as a new model for law enforcement activities. Predictive policing is based on the special skills of statisticians and computational scientists who run sophisticated techniques to analyse data available in disparate sources, to anticipate and prevent crime and disorder. Hence, a shift in the police work could be envisaged; a change of ‘paradigm’ (T. Kuhn). This “new” model appears to be rooted in the last century 70s and 80s ‘new penology’ with its actuarial approach, where numbers produce the individual. Further back in time, its roots can also be found in the 19th century vision of J. Bentham, when he proposed a ‘moral arithmetic’ for the benefit of governmentality (M. Foucault). A predictive regime requires organisational capabilities and structures, a new way of thinking and (perhaps) new leaders. Police forces would have to be able to effectively make use of the findings of predictive research. Yet, some police forces still don’t recognise the criticality of science and research. And, let’s not forget that information is not knowledge, as it is ‘indifferent’ to meaning and does not consider people’s ‘intentional states’ (J. Bruner). So, it seems the individual is lost in the mechanics of discovering patterns. But it takes only one to disrupt society...



How to Cite
Pais, L. (2018). Predictive Policing: Is It Really an Innovation?. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (4 SCE), 125-131. Retrieved from