Police forces are now trialing prediction software to work out who is likely to commit a crime and stop it happening, in what is inevitably being compared to Philip K Dick's Minority Report.

The book saw a troika of precogs making predictions as to who would offend and where it would happen, but IBM's Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History (Crush) software is very much computer based.

According to The Observer, the software looks at the police databases – including briefings, criminal records and weather reports – and makes its predictions.

Big investment

Apparently the software is a result of $11 billion worth of investment in analytics by computer giant IBM.

John Williams, of the Memphis Crime Analysis Unit, told The Observer: "This is more of a proactive tool than reacting after crimes have occurred.

"This pretty much puts officers in the area at the time that the crimes are being committed."

Of course, the computer is essentially looking for patterns – a technique used by the police for years in the fight against crime.

But as long as they are developing sicksticks to slow down the 'pre-offenders' when they get to them we're all for it.

Via The Observer