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New interactive local crime maps in every area
Every neighbourhood in England and Wales will have access to the latest local crime information through new interactive crime maps, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced today.
The rollout of interactive crime maps follows the announcement made by the Home Secretary earlier this month, as part of the Policing Green Paper, that every police force in the country has now delivered monthly crime information to the public on their websites. New interactive crime maps will take the rollout of local crime information to the next level.
By the end of the year every police force area will produce crime maps which will allow the public to:
* see where and when crime has happened, down to street level for some crimes;
* make comparisons with other areas; and
* learn how crime is being tackled by their local neighbourhood policing team.
The new maps will give the public the information they need to hold their local police force to account. The maps will communicate to the public how they can get involved in setting local policing priorities to reduce the crime that matters to them in their area.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
"The public are the best weapon for fighting crime. By rolling out up-to-date, interactive crime maps we can better inform people about crime problems in their area and enable them to have much more of a say in what their local police focus on. This will help increase public confidence in the police and make communities safer.
"The latest annual crime figures showed another drop in crime nationwide but it's important that people understand what this means to them in their local area and where challenges remain.
"We are working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to bring in the best police and Government expertise to roll out local crime maps in every neighbourhood by the end of the year. I want to congratulate the West Midlands police force for being among the first to develop this new tool."
The Home Secretary made the announcement on a visit to Brierley Police Station in the West Midlands to see a demonstration of local crime maps in action. The Home Secretary met local people to discuss how the maps will encourage them to engage with local police to tackle crime in their area. The force will be among the first to introduce the interactive maps when an updated version of its crime mapping website launches in September.
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on Policing Futures, Sir Norman Bettison said:
"My own Police Authority in West Yorkshire started, two years ago, to make available crime mapping data to keep the public informed about local incidents and trends. This fulfils the key responsibility to give information to communities in order that they can see the real level of crime and help the police to address it. This neighbourhood picture has provided reassurance for many people about the ability of the police to tackle crime in their local area. Given this positive response from the public, ACPO supports the roll-out of this facility nationally and will be assisting the Home Office in taking it forward."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Government's Crime Strategy 'Cutting Crime: A New Partnership 2008-11', published in July 2007, contained a commitment to provide access to more and better local crime information for the public. This was delivered on time in July 2008.
2. Public crime mapping is part of the Government's commitment to strengthen community engagement in policing, which is at the heart of the reform programme outlined in the recently published Policing Green Paper.
3. Hampshire, Lancashire and West Yorkshire (along with the West Midlands) are currently the leading forces on crime maps, with other forces preparing to introduce them this year.
4. The latest published crime statistics showed in 2007/08 crime measured by the British Crime Survey fell by ten per cent compared with 2006/07. Police recorded crime fell by nine per cent. Decreases were recorded in nearly every crime type, including:
* Violent crime down by 12 per cent according to the BCS;
* Police recorded sex offences down seven per cent;
* Vandalism down ten per cent according to the BCS;
* Police recorded violence against the person down eight per cent;
* Vehicle related theft down 11 per cent according to the BCS;
* Domestic burglary reported to the police down four per cent; and
* Perceptions of anti-social behaviour down two percentage points to 16 per cent.
5. The government will also be sharing good practice with the police service, such as the Cabinet Office examples of crime mapping which can be found at http://powerofinformation.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/crime-mapping-proof-of-concept/