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New system set to thwart terrorist attacks and criminal activity

A visual analytics based intelligent system to help law enforcement agencies identify suspicious activity amongst vast amounts of data, providing early warnings of impending criminal or terrorist activity, will be developed by a consortium of 18 organisations, led by Middlesex University, in a €13million European Commission funded project. Valcri

The pioneering project will enable suspect patterns to be identified using powerful analytic software and the data laid out in an interactive and graphical manner.  The project is entitled VALCRI (Visual Analytics for sense-making in Criminal Intelligence Analysis) will scrutinise data including text, documents, images and video.

Middlesex University project lead Prof William Wong said: "Criminal intelligence analysis is very mentally demanding and time intensive given the uncertainty and ambiguity in such work.  Sorting the significant from the insignificant and connecting the dots is difficult with large volumes of data, and it's getting more complex as sources such as social media increase.  It's no longer humanly possible to sift through all the data if the police are expected to respond in an efficient timeframe."

Middlesex will lead the 18 international organisations including law enforcement agencies, universities, businesses and research organisations.  The organisations includes the Belgian Federal Police and West Midlands Police Force.  Experts will be drawn from eight countries with 72 scientists, engineers and law enforcement professionals working on the project.

The project aims to use data to provide crime fighters with a complete and comprehensive picture and help avoid miscarriages of justice which could occur when dealing with large amounts of data. Mistakes can arise because of data overload, a lack of awareness of the availability of relevant data, the inability to find or realise the need to find a key piece of information, which could be because one does not know the data exists or the need for it, or the inability to demonstrate how a conclusion was reached.

"The consortium will design the technology from cognitive, legal, ethical and privacy perspectives so that the rights of the individual to security and liberty will be respected while ensuring the good of society.  VALCRI will also enable law enforcement agencies to make their processes more transparent, so that the process by which their conclusions are reached are made easier to inspect," added Wong

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