On Monday 6 November 2023, Lincolnshire Police announced the adoption of CESIUM across their force – an ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI) application developed by Trilateral Research. The state-of-the-art software revolutionises the current approach to child safeguarding. Its launch follows Lincolnshire Police’s successful validation of the software in 2022, where live data was used to demonstrate its potential to identify vulnerable children much earlier – the software enabled 16 vulnerable children to be identified up to 6 months before the existing process. Further analysis proactively identified three vulnerable children for pre-screening risk assessment who had previously been concealed in the data.
The software enables us to identify vulnerable children months before the existing process and our staff had been undertaking this manually, so the software can now support them in their decision-making. The ability to detect more quickly and accurately where we need to put prevention measures in place is game-changing.
Chris Haward, Chief Constable, Lincolnshire Police
Following the release of 2018 statutory guidance on inter-agency child safeguarding, experts in Trilateral recognised a need for a more rigorous approach to the information exchange and identification of risk within Safeguarding Partnerships. Using public funding that is designed to drive UK SMEs in developing game changing innovations, experts in Trilateral worked with Lincolnshire Police to co-design a state-of-the-art responsible AI solution.
Trilateral’s multi-disciplinary team, including experts in social science, data science, ethics, law, child safeguarding, data protection, AI and software engineers, have developed CESIUM over the past 5 years, with groundbreaking innovation and solutions throughout. Their co-design approach with Lincolnshire Police has led to the development of software that will improve the day-to-day workload of Police Officers across the Lincolnshire force.
The force’s validation of CESIUM in 2022 not only demonstrated the identification of vulnerability otherwise hidden in databases and early referral of vulnerable children, but also indicated an increase in operational capacity of 400% within a Safeguarding Partnership setting, and a decrease in time spent on administration – a reduction from 5 people researching, gathering and analysing data over 5 days, to 1 person analysing all near-real-time data within 20 minutes.
We take a rigorous sociotechnical approach to the design of ethical AI that considers both the technical and social considerations of its use in complex areas like policing. This builds trust in the use and adoption of AI, and confidence in the insights and interventions that can be achieved.
Dr Hayley Watson, Director – Sociotech Innovation, Trilateral Research
Along with the streamlining of processes, Trilateral’s efforts have revolutionised the approach to the use of AI within safeguarding with user workflow, data protection, ethics, security and machine learning governance built into CESIUM’s framework. Their unique approach to consultation via a co-design process ensures that the software is purpose-built for users operating in the safeguarding arena.
We understand the challenges faced by the Police as they work within an environment with heavy regulatory constraints, high demand, and legacy systems. They need cutting-edge solutions that provide data-driven insights built with responsible AI methods, to protect lives of the vulnerable most effectively. CESIUM responds to these needs and challenges and is having a genuine, positive impact on individual lives and the wider community. The work we have done within CESIUM is foundational, as we aim to bring our responsible AI approach to other communities across the UK as well as other societal challenges.
Kush Wadhwa, CEO and CTO, Trilateral Research
Over the coming months, both Lincolnshire Police and the team at Trilateral Research hope to share the knowledge they have gained on AI best practice across policing and with wider Safeguarding Partnerships, driving forward their vision of multi-agency data sharing and identification of vulnerability to continue supporting the proactive safeguarding of children.