Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 13:20 UK

Crime maps online 'by end 2008'

Police crime scene
Police websites now detail monthly crime information

New interactive maps which will allow every neighbourhood in England and Wales to access local crime information will be ready by the end of the year.

The government says the crime maps will show the public where and when crime happened, down to the street level for some categories.

Since the start of July, all police websites in England and Wales have been publishing monthly crime statistics.

The home secretary said the online maps will keep the public better informed.

Crime maps were part of the Policing Green Paper reforms announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith earlier this month.

The government says they will take the rollout of local crime information to the next level.

The crime maps will feature comparisons with other areas and tell the public how crime is being tackled by their local neighbourhood policing team.

Forces already using crime maps in England include West Midlands and West Yorkshire police.

'Best weapon'

Ms 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."

Sir Norman Bettison, from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), 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 address it."

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said capital-wide crime-mapping will be available to Londoners from next month.

He said that the maps were "a proven technique for increasing public safety and for putting extra resources, including extra police officers, into crime hotspots where they are most needed".

"It also has the additional benefit of providing the public with key information, which will enable them to hold the police to account more effectively and help improve police performance."

The latest annual crime figures for England and Wales showed police-recorded crime was down 9% last year as part of the longest ever recorded period of falling crime.

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