Citizen Forensics


I am excited to learn that our bid to undertake a new EPSRC funded research project, "Citizen Forensics" has been successful.  The project sits at the intersection of software engineering, psychology, policing and power/politics/economics, exploring the use of technology to improve collaboration between citizens and the police.  I will be leading the project, which will involve my colleagues Blaine Price, Bashar Nuseibeh, Graham Pike (OU Psychology / Centre for Policing Research & Learning), Mark Levine (Psychology Exeter) and Peter Bloom (OU Faculty of Business & Law).

The overall aim of the project is to develop a socio-technical system for Citizen Forensics that will enrich and deepen collaboration between citizens and the police, through the exchange of data gathered using a variety of digital technologies, to support investigation of crimes and enhance public safety.  We will achieve this aim by addressing the following specific objectives:

  • Understand the role of adaptive technologies in the context of police investigations and public safety for enhancing the role of the “digital citizen” through the creation of “virtual civic spaces” for citizen-police collaboration.
  • Develop new models of citizen-police engagement that leverage the capabilities of pervasive technologies, taking into account the role of citizen and community identities in these engagements, and the needs of policing agencies and criminal justice legislation.
  • Build an adaptive software architecture that supports the contextual information flows required to deliver the community-police collaborations envisaged for Citizen Forensics, preserving key properties such as privacy and forensic-soundness.

We will draw on expertise in computing, policing, psychology and organisational theory to deliver on these objectives working together with our partners who represent both policing organisations and communities, as well as the broader community of researchers, policy makers and software developers. This will enable the co-creation of research challenges and their solutions.

More information about the project will be available soon, but the Open University news story on the award of the grant can be found here: Exploring technologies to improve how citizens and the police work together to keep us safe