People will now for the first time be able to see what crime and antisocial behaviour has happened on their streets, access details about their neighbourhood policing team and find out about regular beat meetings all at the touch of a button, the Home Secretary announced today.
Interactive maps which can be accessed on computers and mobile phones will open the door on crime and policing information, allowing people to view crimes including burglary, violence and anti-social behaviour in their areas by doing a simple postcode search.
This transparent new level of crime and local policing information will ensure people can tell forces what their concerns about crime and disorder are, find out information about crime in their area and hold police to account for how well they are dealing with the issues that matter locally.
It forms a key part of the government’s transparency agenda making crime and antisocial behaviour data available in an open format so that communities, local services and developers can use it to help people engage with the police in a meaningful way.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘We want people to be able to see what crime is happening on their street and to be able to tell their local police if they have concerns, and challenge them about how issues are being dealt with.
‘From today, this new information will allow them to do just that. This is a major achievement, reconnecting the police and communities through the power of information.
‘But this is just the start. We want to build on this by working with the police and communities to explore how we can go further and faster and drive forward even greater transparency across crime, policing and justice.’
Police minister statement
Minister for policing and criminal justice Nick Herbert said: ‘I have been an advocate of street-level crime mapping since seeing it work in Los Angeles so I am excited to see this website launched today, particularly as I believe it goes further and is more comprehensive than any other scheme. Police.uk will make England and Wales world leaders in this field, with every citizen able to access details about crimes on their streets.
‘Together with the introduction of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, we are giving people the information and power to hold their local forces to account and ensure that crime in their neighbourhood is driven down.’
The Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on crime information Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said: ‘This new community-focussed approach means the public can access street level crime information simply by entering their street name or postcode into the website.
‘Links to local neighbourhood policing teams will also be available and will help to build community involvement in policing.
‘Making information available to the public will not only help to raise awareness of how the police service is working to reduce crime and disorder in communities, but will help reduce the fear of crime and in areas where crime is occurring, provide encouragement to the public to support the police with information and remain watchful when appropriate.
‘The interest of victims are at the heart of this new approach and the Government is also working with the Information Commissioner to ensure that the identities of individuals are protected whilst giving people the information they need to challenge their police force and change their communities.
Quote from Louise Casey
The Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses Louise Casey said: ‘Publishing information about street level crime and policing helps local people hold the police to account for what they are doing to tackle it.
‘Greater transparency is vital if the public are to have the confidence to report crime and victims are to get the help and support they rightly deserve.’
The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: ‘I welcome the drive to improve accountability through greater transparency. Crime mapping can be an effective means of letting people know what crimes are taking place in their local area although care needs to be taken as this can potentially have an impact on the privacy of individuals such as victims or witnesses.
‘We are pleased to have had the opportunity to provide advice about the privacy implications and that our advice has been incorporated into many of the safeguards that have been put in place. It will be important that this initiative is reviewed to ensure that the privacy safeguards are effective in practice.’