The UK Algorithmic Transparency Standard: A Qualitative Analysis of Police Perspectives

Paper by Marion Oswald, Luke Chambers, Ellen P. Goodman, Pam Ugwudike, and Miri Zilka: “1. The UK Government’s draft ‘Algorithmic Transparency Standard’ is intended to provide a standardised way for public bodies and government departments to provide information about how algorithmic tools are being used to support decisions. The research discussed in this report was conducted in parallel to the piloting of the Standard by the Cabinet Office and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.
2. We conducted semi-structured interviews with respondents from across UK policing and commercial bodies involved in policing technologies. Our aim was to explore the implications for police forces of participation in the Standard, to identify rewards, risks, challenges for the police, and areas where the Standard could be improved, and therefore to contribute to the exploration of policy options for expansion of participation in the Standard.
3. Algorithmic transparency is both achievable for policing and could bring significant rewards. A key reward of police participation in the Standard is that it provides the opportunity to demonstrate proficient implementation of technology-driven policing, thus enhancing earned trust. Research participants highlighted the public good that could result from the considered use of algorithms.
4. Participants noted, however, a risk of misperception of the dangers of policing technology, especially if use of algorithmic tools was not appropriately compared to the status quo and current methods…(More)”.