The role of citizen engagement in AI for policing and law enforcement: TRANSCEND meets ALIGNER.

The Artificial Intelligence Roadmap for Policing and Law Enforcement (ALIGNER) project, which is funded by the European Commission, aims to connect European stakeholders who have reservations about the usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by law enforcement authorities. Together, they discuss ways in which the use of AI can improve security in Europe while increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and generating benefits for the public. The project will develop a roadmap for research and policy in AI and security. The integration of the citizens’ perspective also plays a major role in the course of the project. 

A partnership between TRANSCEND and ALIGNER emerged to explore possibilities of integrating TRANSCEND’s approach to citizen engagement in this complex topic. On May 14, 2024, an online workshop with 30 people from the ALIGNER project and interested stakeholders (practitioners and researchers from other EU funded security projects) took place. In addition to testing methods for conducting an online workshop, the aim of TRANSCEND was to find out what we can learn from the experiences and the experts present from security research and practice.  

Associations on the role of civil society in the development of AI technologies.

First, it was possible to methodically determine what role civil society’s involvement in the development of security technologies played for the workshop participants. Overall, it became clear that the development and use of AI in the field of security research played a major role in the ALIGNER project context. The involvement of citizens was seen as important because it contributes to the diversity of perspectives and experiences, which can lead to more comprehensive and realistic results (see word cloud, above). Citizens can provide valuable insights into the practical implications of scientific research and help to make research on relevant societal issues such as policing and law enforcement more socially inclusive and accessible. It is essential that this role is ensured in technology policy projects. 

In a second part of the workshop, the general challenges in the integration of citizens in security research and subsequently in the ALIGNER project were discussed and prioritized by the participants: 

Challenges in the integration of citizens in AI development projects.

In the final part of the workshop, the TRANSCEND team explained how TRANSCEND’s Toolbox of Methods (which you can find here) can be used to ensure the involvement of citizens at the very beginning of the development process for complex technologies. Ensuring control over the development and use of AI while including the perspective of citizens and ensuring safety was defined as a firm goal in the discussion, but it became clear that this is associated with many challenges (see the Table above). 

Through our Toolbox, the TRANSCEND project can offer practical methods for citizen engagement in cybersecurity research, as well as other research domains. We will continue discussing the topic of citizen engagement in a panel discussion at the ALIGNER project’s final event in late 2024. 

Many thanks to Dr. Daniel Lückerath (Fraunhofer IAIS) for the cooperation opportunity!  


Authors: Greta Runge and Michael Friedewald, Fraunhofer ISI.

If you’re interested in speaking to the TRANSCEND team, you can contact us at