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Citizen Interaction Technologies Yield Community Policing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CITYCoP (Citizen Interaction Technologies Yield Community Policing)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-05-31

Productive citizen interaction with law enforcement authorities (LEA) is at the core of all police work. Theories underlying Community Policing (CP) received new impetus with the recent advent of smartphones. Our research showed that community policing by definition (and title) varies greatly from country to country. Whereas some parts of Europe have had many decades of experience with community oriented policing, for others, the concept is relatively new and just beginning to take shape in respect to cultural sensitivities and historical relationships with law enforcement. Because of this, there cannot be a “one size fits all” approach to technological solutions that support these programs.
CITYCoP examines what are the common features and the best practices embraced by apps which may have been successful and determine why apparently promising ones failed. It then goes on to produce a uniquely European solution including a smartphone app and portal which are capable of being deployed in every European city while still retaining the “local flavour” and diversity which would appear to be a key for success.
After extensive market research and input from our law enforcement partners, we developed a solution that takes into account the needs of both the community and police, by providing a local “flavour” to each version of the app where it is offered. Based on this, we focused on creating a solution that increases communication between the community and police, with a privacy by design approach respectful of national and EU regulations. Training including use of serious games, is developed to encourage engagement in CP. CITYCoP piloted in Bucharest, Lisbon, Florence and Dublin and Kildare.
In order to achieve this CITYCoP has the following objectives:
1: To analyse the social, cultural, legal and ethical issues that affect the building of trust in community policing through technology.
2: To identify and address previous failures/limitations in the use of technology in community policing by reviewing existing practices worldwide.
3: To understand how the use of technology in community policing models is received by LEAs and citizens in selected European cities and the factors that contribute to success in terms of building trust and improving crime reporting.
4: To produce a uniquely European technical solution including a smartphone app and an on-line portal which are capable of being deployed in every European city while still retaining the “local flavour” and diversity.
5: To develop a system to TRL6 level with the aim to facilitate information sharing and trust building between citizens and LEAs and to pilot the CITYCoP system in five diverse cities - Bucharest, Lisbon, Florence, Dublin and Kildare.
6: To train LEAs and citizens through serious gaming to facilitate the right information sharing that will allow LEAs to prevent, detect and prosecute criminal behaviour efficiently.
7: To carry out a complete data protection and ethical audit of the CITYCoP system.
8: To develop a CITYCoP Toolkit that can be used by other cities inside and outside Europe which may want to adopt the CITYCoP system.
In the first 18 months of the project the following work was performed:
A. Analysis of Best Practices: WP2 carried out an in-depth overview of 275 applications that have been used in CP initiatives in the US and in Europe. From this analysis, a number of strengths and failures and best practices were identified.
- Citizens’ trust in CP: Trust is central in the building of any productive cooperation between citizens and LEAs. By using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, factors that lower citizens’ perceptions of insecurity, and increase the use of CP tools are identified.
- Legal and Ethical implications of CP practices: a. a fundamental rights analysis of CP identified what rights are in the foreground when considering the introduction of CP. This included the right to private life to rights surrounding a right to a fair trial (WP11) and an analysis of the legal and ethical implications of using smart surveillance systems in particular in combination with CP strategies (WP14). b. a privacy-by-design methodology was designed and is being followed in the building of the CITYCoP tools.
B. Establishing the CITYCoP app functionality: In establishing the CITYCoP app functionality the project explored both LEAs ‘wish-lists’ and citizens’ ‘wish-list’ for such a system. Through workshops and interviews with LEAs and focus groups with citizens in six cities the CITYCoP app functionality ensure that they meet the needs of both LEAs and citizens. The results obtained are used used in the ‘Preparing the technical blue-prints’; and ‘Systems Architecture, Serious Gaming and Training’ streams.
C. Designing the CITYCoP tools: Based on the CITYCoP app functionality, the technical blue prints for the tools were designed and a prototype has been prepared.
D. Serious Gaming: Two sets of serious games were prepared: (i) a Citizen Engagement Game which is made up of three different systems: a face construction game; a face matching game and a face and car matching game. (ii) a training game for LEA officers based on scenario building and reaction.
E. Mid-term Public Conference: the “CITYCoP Forum – Smart Solutions for Citizen Safety” was held in Rome on 14 - 15 November 2016. It was well attended and an important opportunity to discuss with external stakeholders on trust in community policing and the role of technology in CP.
In the second 18 months of the project the following work was performed:
F. Pre-pilot familiarization meetings were conducted at each one of the pilot cities (Bucharest, Florence, Lisbon, Dublin and Kildare).
G. Training events were conducted at each of the pilot locations.
H. The two types of games one aimed at citizen users, the other for law enforcement, were launched.
I. Pilots in 5 cities were held.
J. During the CITYCoP final conference, the Toolkit was launched.
No prior research has as extensively analysed the successes and failures in the use of technology in CP initiatives: the work in WP2 is very extensive and innovative.
The ‘in-the-moment’ research examining fear of crime in everyday life through the use of a smartphone app is innovative and the four-stage methodology developed has not be done before.
The legal research on the legal basis of ‘CP’ is innovative and has not been previously documented in literature;
The functionality of the CITYCoP was prepared based on wishlists from both LEAs and very importantly citizens and not only LEAs as in previous attempts.
The app and portal have passed a data protection audit.
The project achieved the following main impacts:
-Strengthened CP principles through effective and efficient tools, procedures and approaches
-Early identification, timely intervention, as well as better crime reporting, identification of risks, unreported and undiscovered crime through the community
-Strengthened and accelerated communication between citizens and police forces. Overall, strengthened community feeling and lower feeling of insecurity
-Proactively targets the needs and requirements of citizens and national and local law enforcement agencies