The government has launched the first national crime and policing website in the world, providing online crime maps for England and Wales in an attempt to make police more accountable.
At midnight last night, the government launched police.uk enabling people to search for information on crime and anti-social behaviour in their area by simply entering a street name or postcode.
Home Secretary Theresa May championed the move saying the crime maps would give real facts about criminal activity and make police more accountable for their actions.
‘I think people are going to welcome the fact they can really see what’s happening with crime in their area, not just on their street but in their neighbourhood,’ she says. ‘I think they will feel a greater connection with the police, with much more information about where they can go, and who they can work with.’
There has been, however, some controversy surrounding the £300,000 website, with suggestions that it is deceptive in terms of it’s description of anti-social behaviour and that it could increase fear among residents.
Another concern is that house proces will be driven down in affected areas, and insurance rates driven up.
But the government challenged the criticisms, maintaining that the site is an important part of its ‘transparency agenda’, making data available to the public in an open format so that communities could use it to engage with the police in a meaningful way.
The minister for policing and criminal justice, Nick Herbert, says: I think we are putting power in the hands of people by giving them the information but more than that, we are also giving them information about what they can do.’
The Home Secretary continues: ‘We want people to be able to see what crime is happening on their street. 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.’
Do you agree with the government that the new policing site will help the country’s fight against crime, or do you feel the system is deceptive and a breach of privacy? Perhaps the system will deter people from reporting offenses in order to keep crime levels down in their area? Marie Claire wants to hear your thoughts in the box below.