Dutch police opens up cold cases to peer-based problem solving, part 2

Earlier we mentioned the innovative initiative of the Dutch police to open up cold cases on the Internet, to try to solve these cases with help from the public. Since then, the initiative received a lot of input from the public (over 700 reactions), more than 70,000 visitors, and now the cases are accessible in English also. Thanks to improved techniques and detection methods, the police hopes – with help from the public – they will now be able to solve cold cases.

This initiative makes use of the wisdom of the crowds, the theory that a larger group of diverse people can make better decisions, and display more intelligence than any smaller collection of experts. Civilians can help the police by providing information on the cold case, which can give the police new insights about the crime. It seems that the Dutch police have made their organization ready for this new and upcoming phenomenon, also known as community driven innovations.

“Utrecht police are trying to get members of the public help solve a 1995 murder by placing information about the case on internet and appealing for tips. If the website (www.politieonderzoeken.nl) is a success, current murder and sex crimes will also be put on line, ANP reports.” [source: Dutch News]

We feel this initiative deserves all the attention it can get. It is a great example of how the characteristics of the P2P processes can contribute. The public contributes by giving their information, which is all visible on the site.

2 Comments Dutch police opens up cold cases to peer-based problem solving, part 2

  1. AvatarMichel Bauwens

    Hi Paul,

    Interesting points, but just a few comments from my perspective.

    – I agree that new movements in general are very diverse, and that we are no longer in a situation of simple binary hegemony and counter-hegemony

    – At the same time, peer production and its governance, does not indeed create a state

    However, there are 2 counter-arguments insufficiently taken into account in theory

    – First of all, the state already exists, and has existed since the dawn of civilization; while potentially, the emergence and growth of peer governance will diminish the role of state forms, this can only be a very very gradual process, with no certainty of an end point towards an evolution of no-state. Hence, it is much more likely that the state will evolve, and that since, the continuing existence of an infinite-growth capitalism is a logical and physical impossibility, the state could change from an agent of corporations reflecting the balance of social forces, to an entity that is a reflection of civil society and acts as a meta-regulator towards the 3 modes of production.

    – Second, the whole work of the P2P Foundation is based on the premise that there is in fact a unifying logic to the emerging informational movements around the 3 paradigms (open/free, participatory, commons), as well as with environmental strugges against pseudo-abundance in physical production. The logic is not necessarily revolutionary, but certainly anti-systemic.

    But as I said, I see it operating as changing the state, rather than abolishing it or replacing it.

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