The Police are set to open a new ‘hate lab’ facility that will utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to predict spikes in hate crime and racial tension on the streets of the UK following Brexit.
The facility which costs £1 million will be based in Manchester and will be led by researchers from Cardiff University, who have been developing the technology.
Researchers noticed that following the 2016 EU referendum vote and 2017 terror attacks, there was a surge in online hate speech, which in turn led to a significant increase in hate crime offences.
In total, a record 94,098 hate crime incidents were recorded by the police during 2017/18, a 17 per cent increase on previous figures.
The facility will monitor social media websites to track racial tension in the country as the Government expects hate crime to increase upon the UK leaving the European Union in March.
The content of social media posts and keywords in online activity will be monitored, breaking it down into sections which include anti-polish, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in a bid to pre-empt outbreaks of hate crimes in UK cities.
If spikes in online ‘racial tension’ are found, the facility will then notify the local police forces in that area so that action can be taken to combat the threat.
Principle researcher Professor Matthew Williams said: “Brexit has drawn sharp divisions in society and in 2019, Britain is likely to be in its most severe crisis in peacetime, and there is concern that events will motivate more hate crime.
“Our research and technology will help organisations to quickly recognise warning signs in real time so they can take necessary action to support victims and combat the crimes.”