Artificial intelligence in the police force: a force for good? - RSA

Artificial intelligence in the police force: a force for good?

Policy briefing

  • Public services
  • Technology

This short paper explores how police forces in the UK are communicating their use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision systems (ADS).

Through freedom of information requests, we asked every police force in the UK whether they were using AI or ADS to make policing decisions, what training and guidelines they offer to staff, and whether they had consulted with the public.

Key findings

We discovered that only a small minority of police forces were prepared to confirm to us whether they are using AI or ADS for policing decisions, and of these very few have offered public engagement.

We found:

  1. Predictive policing and facial recognition remain the primary uses of these new technologies by our police forces.
  2. However, these are often being used without sufficient public engagement.
  3. This forms part of a wider difficulty in communicating how AI or ADS is being used by the police, and across our public services.
  4. Police forces need stronger guidelines on the use of new technologies, along with greater support and oversight.

Download the report (PDF, 240 KB)

pdf 239.2 KB


Picture of Will Grimond
Media and Communications Officer

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Special Adviser to the RSA on the economy