Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 14:41 UK

Online maps to show local crime

Interview with crime and communities adviser Louise Casey

Online maps with crimes plotted on them every month are set to be introduced in England and Wales, Gordon Brown says.

The prime minister said that although crime had fallen "too many people don't believe the system is on their side".

Mr Brown also backed plans to create "community crime fighters" - people such as tenant groups given cash and training to help tackle crime.

The PM was responding to a Cabinet Office report suggesting people felt "cut off" from the justice system.

Louise Casey's paper said criminals' punishment needs to be much more "visible" to restore public confidence in the justice system.

It said many people felt it was "distant" and "unaccountable" and suggested neighbourhood police hold regular public meetings and issue leaflets so victims and local people know offenders have been caught.

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The report suggested that the government considers developing "a more dynamic and interactive website" mapping local crime information - which would let people compare crime rates and police performance in their area with others.

It also said by the start of next year local monthly crime information should be published and delivered to homes in leaflets which include details of action taken to tackle crime and contact details for local people teams.

Earlier Ms Casey told the BBC that often people did not know that somebody had been convicted of a crime and sentenced.

The report says justice needs to be more visible, proposing "visible community payback" and better feedback from police on the outcomes of court cases.

Responding to the report the government said it would "immediately take forward" some of the recommendations including "greater use of uniforms for offenders" on community payback schemes and the use of "community panels" to select the work done.

It also backed "online crime maps" across England and Wales and teams of "community champions" - people in each area who are "equipped with the skills and know-how to play a stronger role in tackling crime".

CRIME MAPPING
The development of mapping tools on the web has shown the potential for desktop users to search for information about a location.
All police forces in England and Wales are due to begin publishing crime statistics at a local level from July 2008.
Crime mapping is more advanced in the US where many police departments already publish local crime statistics on the internet. iPM discussion on crime mapping.
In 2005 Adrian Holovaty developed the idea of combining crime data with information from Google Maps to create Chicagocrime.org. The site has since become EveryBlock.com.
Forces already using crime maps in England include: West Midlands police and West Yorkshire police.

The report suggests a "community crime fighters' umbrella organisation" including tenants' groups and other community groups - to help tackle crime and "community kitties" to fund them.

Mr Brown said: "Through this report people have told us what they want to be done and we are going to act."

He said while overall crime had fallen and police numbers were up, "it is also clear that we need to go further, that too many people don't believe the system is on their side".

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said they would also concentrate on neighbourhood policing, so people had a "strong voice in local policing priorities".

She told the BBC she had asked Ms Casey to take forward the recommendations over the next few months - some of which had already been started.

But Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne told the BBC what was needed was better enforcement of existing policies.

Eight months

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The general public have no faith in the judicial system
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He added: "Things like naming and shaming and high visibility tabards are gimmicks...what we have to do is ensure that there is delivery. That is the function that the Home Office and, I'm afraid, the justice department have spectacularly failed to perform."

For the Conservatives, James Brokenshire said it was "an admission of failure on government policies on crime and anti social behaviour".

"It acknowledges the public remain deeply concerned about the levels of crime and disorder on their streets," he said.

The review, which is intended to inform policy, makes about 30 recommendations.

Ms Casey, the government's crime and communities advisor, spent eight months consulting 13,000 people in England and Wales for the review - ordered by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to raise confidence in criminal justice.

Graph to show how to reduce crime




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