Search

Havering Police’s Minority Report-style technique triumphs

16:58 19 June 2014

Minority report

Minority report

Archant

In New Scotland Yard a team of highly-skilled analysts are predicting where criminals may strike in Havering.

Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells looks into the predictive technology system at Romford Police Station.Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells looks into the predictive technology system at Romford Police Station.

Senior police in the borough are hailing the Minority Report-style technique, a year on from its inception, for reducing crime – particularly burglary.

There were 2,248 burglaries in the past 12 months – more than six a day – but this is a reduction of 17 per cent from the same point last year.

Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells, of Havering Police, invited the Recorder to Romford Police Station, Main Road, to see how the hi-tech predictive mapping works, six months after the technology featured on our front page.

Mr Rickells was sitting behind an unspectacular wooden desk with a rather average looking computer screen – but from his position he is able to flick through images from Met headquarters that help inform him how to stop burglars making off with residents’ possessions.

Det Ch Insp Phil RickellsDet Ch Insp Phil Rickells

He pulls up a map of Havering. Red dots scattered about it show where burglaries have happened recently, while shaded patches show where they are likely to happen again.

Using this information, which is updated daily, he can send officers to patrol “hotspots” to either catch burglars in the act or to give police the upper hand in catching the thieves after a crime has been reported.

“Predictive mapping allows us to go where we think burglaries are going to happen.

“I don’t know how [the analysts] do it and I have no idea about the science but they look at the history and say ‘we are likely to have a burglary here’,” he said as he pointed at the spot where he would send officers that night.

“People say you never see a policeman on foot – well those are dedicated police officers going out into those areas.

“[The stats] show what we are doing is right. We have to be doing something right for a change that’s seen at least 464 fewer victims in the last 12 months.”

Mr Rickells and the team are looking at further research to see how these techniques can be honed.

“There’s research to say that if you stay around the scene of a burglary for longer you are more likely to arrest the offender,” he said. “If you take a dog with you it’s an even higher chance and if you take the eye in the sky – that’s the helicopter – it’s even higher.”

He also explained how officers are pre-empting offenders they fear may strike again by paying them a visit and letting them know that police are out there.

Mr Rickells added: “We’re also knocking on doors – what I call old-fashioned policing.”

Officers are practising “cocooning”, he said, where they create a blanket area around the site of an incident by visiting neighbours and explaining how they can prevent the same thing happening to them.

These tactics appear to be working – in January 2013 an insurance firm revealed that residents in Harold Hill, Harold Wood and Noak Hill were the fifth most likely to fall victims to housebreakers.

But, this January, the areas no longer featured in the top 20 of the MoneySuperMarket survey.

Havering Police’s borough commander Ch Supt Jason Gwillim said: “I would say it’s really difficult to say it’s down to predictive mapping alone, but we have to ask what we are doing differently now that we weren’t doing last year.

“It’s predictive mapping and that’s a tremendous success.”

Read more:

Police use ‘Minority Report’ style predictive crime mapping to keep Havering safe from burglars over Christmas

Elderly man gagged and injured during burglary at Hornchurch home - but he managed to kick one attacker in genitals

Havering police urge vigilance in fight against fair-weather burglars

Latest Romford News Stories

Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson, left, and Scotty Essex) in the ring.

More than 180 people watched the next generation of wrestling stars battle each other in the ring on Sunday, last week.

yoga picture for RHP

Reducing stress and anxiety can feel impossible at times, but a yoga teacher in Upminster says she can help residents find inner peace.

The launch of Here to help!, a new service opening in Havering, which will help any Havering residents over 16

Those in need across the borough can hope for a little more support with the launch of a new care programme.

Yesterday, 15:00
St Mary's Catholic School refurb.

Pupils at one of the borough’s largest faith schools will have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief when they returned to class this month.

Yesterday, 12:00
Adrian Baker is still touring today.

After a successful career spanning more than four decades, a chart-topping guitarist has recalled how it feels to perform in front of audiences around the world.

Yesterday, 10:00
Councillors and winners celebrate a successful London in Bloom competition.

Havering is this year’s biggest winners at the London in Bloom competition after it toppled last year’s previous record.

Fri, 16:05
Parking tickets on a car in a railway station.

Parking fines handed out to drivers in the borough have more than doubled in the space of five years.

Fri, 13:25
Ricky Hayden was killed earlier this month (Picture: Kosho Bar)

A teenager appeared in court for the first time today, charged with murdering Ricky Hayden and attempting to murder his father.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

VW Golf Estate

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now