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Met Uses Software that can be Deployed to See if Ethnic Groups 'Specialize' in Areas of Crime

– The Guardian

Reporting for The Guardian, Haroon Siddique reveals that various police departments throughout the United Kingdom, including London’s Metropolitan Police, have used a software that can ethnically profile criminals and victims based on their names

The use of the software has alarmed activists at the Institute of Race Relations and Kingston race and equality council for its potential to harm community relations and to target people of color.

“The Origins programme, produced by Webber Phillips, a consultancy run by Prof Richard Webber and the former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair Trevor Phillips has been described by the former as conferring the ability “to profile perpetrators and victims” of crimes. That has led to warnings that the software – which works by attempting to identify people’s ethnicity or cultural origin by their name – can facilitate stereotyping and stigmatisation.”

As well as the Metropolitan Police, Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies and West Midlands police all have records of using the Origins program, and Bedfordshire police have record of contracting with Webber Phillips consulting. All police forces claim the software or their work with the company did not employ its ability to racially profile citizens.

The Met said it had never used it for the purpose suggested by Webber but instead to enable safer neighbourhood teams to better understand the communities they serve

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