JAN 01] WEST MIDLANDS POLICE NEWS
Police Use FLINTS To Hammer Crooks
in Coventry are using a new computer
system to predict where and when crime is likely to happen.
Midlands Police have developed a new generation of one of the
country's most advanced computer crime-fighting systems.
II automatically alerts officers to prolific offenders and is
capable of identifying criminal networks.
lets officers know which offenders are working with others and
clearly showing the extent of networks which exist. The system
is also capable of predicting where and when an offender is
likely to strike again.
original FLINTS software was developed to help officers make
efficient use of huge amounts of forensic intelligence gathered
at the scene of crimes and from criminals.
inputting information including footprints, DNA, fingerprints,
toolmarks and even handwriting the system can provide police
with evidence of links between criminals and crimes that may
otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Nick Tofiluk, the project leader for FLINTS II, said:
first edition of FLINTS gave officers the ability to build a
graphic pattern of links between crimes and criminals which
were previously thought to have no connection.
these links has resulted in thousands of hours saved, and
hundreds of crimes solved and criminals convicted."
the team continued to develop the system they realised it had
enormous potential and the massive scope for future
was only after working on the original software that we began
to realise how it could develop into something that could
genuinely shape the future of policing - particularly in
respect of offences such as burglary and vehicle crime.
police service is expert at collecting information - from
footprints to fingerprints and DNA, but the more information
we collect, the harder it can become to use it effectively.
II automatically trawls through all our computer systems and
pulls out the appropriate information which links criminals to
other criminals and scenes to scenes."
system works in what is known 'realtime' - within four minutes
of information being entered onto many of the force's computer
networks, officers can search the database.
a complex mathematical system of probability and a detailed
knowledge of where offenders have operated in the past, the
software can provide officers not only with evidence of links
between criminals but also can also predict which criminals will
strike where and when.
can search the whole of the West Midlands square metre by
square metre to identify crime 'hotspots' and can even tell
officers who is likely to have been committing certain crimes.
without direct physical evidence the scientific probability is
so compelling it has already been directly responsible for a
number of convictions."