Last Updated: 05 February 2011
Created: 05 February 2011
This week saw the launch of a new website – www.police.uk – revealing statistics for crime and anti-social behaviour at a street-by-street level. The ‘data maps’ on the site mean everyone can see exactly what crime is happening and where - right down to the level of their street corner.
Information on crime is broken down into six categories - burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, violence, other crime and anti-social behaviour. Sex crimes have been included in the "other" category, along with crimes such as theft and shoplifting, to help prevent victims from being identified. Local police appeals and details of police community meetings will also be published alongside the maps. The Association of Police Authorities said the website was a "magnificent achievement". Deputy chairman Mark Burns Williamson said: "Crime mapping brings accountability to the armchair for everyone who wants to monitor crime on their street."
Following the launch, the website was receiving up to five million hits an hour, or some 75,000 a minute! This staggering level of interest shows how this has captured the public’s imagination. By providing crime data in an open and accessible format, we are empowering local communities to hold the police to account. Armed with this knowledge, residents can ensure the Police deal with the issues that actually matter to us, not those decided by a remote Whitehall bureaucrat.
In addition to the launch of the website, the government is introducing a series of measures to fight crime:
- Slashing bureaucracy – We are already taking steps to save up to 800,000 hours of police time by scrapping paperwork and limiting stop and search reporting, keeping our Police on the beat.
- Removing all targets – The police should just have one goal: to cut crime.
- Providing transparent information – This will empower local communities to help shape crime-fighting in their area.
- Directly-elected Police and Crime Commissioners – This will ensure that police forces respond to the needs of local communities, although both Robert Buckland MP and I have been pressing for political parties to be banned from this process.
Under Labour the police were directed by Whitehall diktat. They spent their time chasing centrally-defined targets, not responding to the needs of local communities they were supposed to be serving. Despite record spending, bureaucracy and form-filling kept police behind desks. They were not on the streets fighting crime. A recent report by the police inspectorate showed only eleven per cent of police officers were visible and available to the public at any time. This simply wasn’t acceptable. The government is serious about cutting the levels of crime and anti-social behaviour and I welcome the fact that we, as local residents, are being empowered to shape and direct Police activity.