Norfolk Police could use computer to decide burglary investigations

Norfolk Police is trialling the system, developed by an academic working with the University of Cambridge, to assess each case reported in the county.

The algorithm uses data from thousands of burglaries and is based on 29 factors including "solvability".

The force said all cases would be overseen and the programme's recommendations could be "overridden".

According to the Mail on Sunday, the force had "quietly closed" hundreds of burglary cases on the basis of the likely outcome of an arrest.

But Ch Supt Nick Davidson told the BBC the results of the trial, which is expected to end in October, would be evaluated before any decision was made on future use.

"It's quite right that a police force seeks to use and explore new technology to help itself be better, to see if it can become more efficient and effective," he said.

"In every other walk of life we see algorithms being used in some really challenging set of circumstances, and we seek to do the same here."