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Local Crime Mapping

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

8. What assessment she has made of the effect of local crime mapping on levels of public confidence in policing. (229776)

The Association of Chief Police Officers tells me that from December this year, all forces will be able to publish neighbourhood crime maps as part of the policing pledge that I announced in July. The minimum standard required will be thematic maps of the same-crime categories, such as burglary, robbery, theft, vehicle crime, violent crime and antisocial behaviour incidents. That will be at least at ward level, and the information will be presented through easily accessible local crime information websites, which will make it possible for the public to make simple comparisons between neighbourhoods.

I thank the Home Secretary for her answer. In Swansea, East, the police have been successfully using crime mapping to identify areas where they can target their resources. An excellent project is being undertaken in my constituency with Pentrehafod school, where young people are working with the police to tackle the causes of crime. Will she ensure that money continues to be invested in crime mapping, particularly when it is so successful in raising public confidence in tackling crime and the causes of crime?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I was pleased to be able to visit south Wales recently and hear from the chief constable about the work that is being undertaken to develop local crime information and make it available to the public. As my hon. Friend rightly says, we need local people, who are the best weapon in helping fight crime, to have the information to work shoulder to shoulder with their local police forces and to continue to see crime come down.

Although I welcome the Home Secretary’s comments about the publication of local crime maps so that the local community knows what is going on, does she share my concern that Essex police have recently regularly refused to provide information about individual crimes to the local media? The public do not know what is going on in their neighbourhoods, which contrasts with the Home Secretary’s comments about the publication of crime mapping.

It is obviously important that local police forces, such as the Essex police force, make the appropriate decisions, but I am clear—as is ACPO—that we must reach a position whereby, alongside crime mapping, we provide much better information to local people and at least monthly opportunities for them to engage with their neighbourhood policing teams, which are now in every neighbourhood throughout the country, to know what is going on and what, together, they can do about it.