Vrouwelijke onderzoeker achter computer met grafieken in beeld

New infrastructure for crime data analysis

The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security's scientific institutes analyse justice, crime and investigation data. In this way, trends or links can be spotted. Linking this kind of data is subject to strict privacy and data protection requirements. SURF helps set up an infrastructure for this.

Xtc pills and cybercrime

What is the connection between a dumping of drug waste, a batch of XTC pills found and raw materials intercepted at the port? How is crime shifting from more traditional crimes to cybercrime and serious organised crime? Questions like these are answered by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), which is a member of SURF, and the Ministry of Justice and Security's Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC).

24 million euros

To do this, the WODC needs to analyse (often) confidential and privacy-sensitive data from organisations, and it currently lacks a proper infrastructure to do so. The NFI, in turn, needs an infrastructure to analyse more forensic investigation data over time. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is therefore making EUR 24 million available to develop an infrastructure over the next four years in which data from the justice and security domain can be efficiently analysed. The infrastructure will also offer new opportunities for research.

The (expected) impact of policy

The infrastructure to be set up is called JusticeLink. The NFI and the WODC are developing the infrastructure with TNO, SURF and the JenV Datalab, among others. The WODC studies the (expected) effect of policy. It uses data from justice and security chain partners, among others, such as data on recidivism of convicted offenders. The NFI is a knowledge and expertise centre in the field of forensic investigation and has access to (forensic) data by conducting forensic investigations. For example, which chemical substances drugs are composed of. Both institutes analyse the data to identify trends, developments or connections.

Complex data

The new infrastructure makes it possible to analyse own data or link, compare and analyse data from organisations in the justice and security chain. Think of data on the judiciary, crimes or investigations. This often involves complex data that must take into account privacy rules, data protection, the different quality and meaning of data, the reliability of calculations and the reliability of any algorithms used. This is precisely why there is a need for an infrastructure that takes all conditions and laws and regulations into account.

Unexpected insights

Bringing data together ensures that the actions required to be compliant can be tackled more efficiently. Such as anonymising data. It also increases the quality of research, as information can be better recorded and tracked, providing better insights. The larger amount of data also gives the opportunity to ask new types of questions. For example, less focused questions, allowing unexpected insights to emerge more often. The infrastructure further makes it possible to examine a lot of data at the same time. This gives better insight into what is happening, but can also help explain why it is happening.

Digitalisation opportunities

"Society is digitising and the growing amounts of data that result from it offer opportunities for data analysis," says Gerty Lensvelt-Mulders, director of the WODC. "Dealing with large and complex data sets is a challenge. We need unique IT solutions to overcome these challenges."


NFI and WODC are using expertise from TNO for building the infrastructure and from JenV datalab for JusticeLink hosting and expertise. SURF supports the project with existing and yet-to-be-developed products, innovation roadmaps, application of new digital technology, and knowledge sharing. The aim is to have a sustainable data infrastructure by 2028, focused on applied research. Lensvelt-Mulders: "With the ultimate goal of a just and safe society."