Predictive Policing

Predictive policing made the C4 News today.  The idea presented was about the use of data to improve prevention and detection, though predictive policing also includes such matters as predicting police misconduct.  The above links give the flavour of what it’s about and a summary of a fairly recent symposium can be found at

Like broken windows policing the ideas are complex and likely to suffer simplistic interpretation.  It will be interesting to see the UK roll-out.


Broken Windows

This pdf is more or less the story of the Bratton management style.  It touches on some of the criticism of ‘Broken Windows’ – but frankly only the easiest to dismiss.

First Bratton needed a leadership staff that was committed to crime control. Before he arrived in New York in January 1994, he asked for resignations of all senior staff. Next he put together a new team of “deep selects” that included Jack Maple as deputy chief, John Timoney as chief of department, Louis Anemone as chief of patrol, John Miller as deputy commissioner of public information, and Michael Julian as chief of personnel.
Then Bratton created a crisis. He hired a consultant, John Lindner, to perform a “cultural diagnostic” of the NYPD, describing its strengths and its obstacles to change. He appointed more than 300 employees from every rank of the NYPD to “re-engineering teams” that studied everything from uniforms and equipment to discipline and training.

The failure was the organization’s leadership over the previous 20 to 25 years. They wasted your most valuable resource: your human beings; that’s what they wasted—by micromanaging, by setting systems in place that stifled creativity…. With the best of intentions, they set up a structure that was meant to fail as a crime-fighting mechanism. It was built for failure.

I’ve heard all this stuff – it’s standard management teaching and there’s more to understand.  What if our police forces are a combination of staff unwilling to deal with the real problems as ‘underneath them’ and what I term ‘Screwtape bureaucracies’ – I see see plenty of sign of both.

I’ve met plenty of cops who have heard about broken windows policing – few who knew it’s about massive attitudinal and organisational change.  The riots may show just how much harder our police could clamp down.  Many of the claims about this kind of management are false and 70% of attempts fail across all industry sectors.

But what if our cops are so ‘bad’ that they are as dysfunctional as Bratton claimed NYPD was?  I have seen companies that were this bad and even worse.  Most non-science and technology higher education is.  And I’ve seen all these management claims made falsely.  The classic examples are when our governments change and it’s all the fault of the last lot.

A recent, free academic paper on broken windows at:

has a good, relevant bibliography.  The standard liberal critique ideas can be started at:

A recent MA can be found at:

My own opinion is that the glaringly obvious factor is the crooked rich and our failure in democracy.  We cannot demand the solutions from our politicians other than through skewed systems that are as disgusting as the riots themselves and actually far more damaging.