Crime map website lets public keep tabs on police

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A crime-mapping website giving street-by-street information on offending patterns has been expanded to let users see how their police force compares with others in England and Wales.

Figures about crime rates, quality of service, victim satisfaction and finances have been added to the website, along with details of a wider range of crimes such as public disorder, shoplifting, criminal damage and drugs offences.

The data show that Yorkshire’s largest force, West Yorkshire Police, solved only a quarter of the crimes it recorded last year.

The region’s other constabularies – North Yorkshire (31 per cent), South Yorkshire (29 per cent) and Humberside (28 per cent) fared slightly better. The national average was 28 per cent.

Of the four forces, West Yorkshire has the greatest officer strength in relation to the size of the population it serves.

There are estimated to be 2.42 officers for every 1,000 people living in West Yorkshire, compared with 2.13 in South Yorkshire, 2.08 in the Humberside force area, and 1.87 in North Yorkshire.

The website, which has attracted more than 430 million hits since its launch in February, is due to be improved further in the coming months.

It will include the naming of specific sites, such as football stadiums, parks and supermarkets, where crime and anti-social behaviour is concentrated.

By May next year, the website will also reveal what happened after a crime was reported to the police and track its progress through the courts.

West Yorkshire Police Authority chairman Mark Burns-Williamson said the website “puts powerful knowledge about policing into the hands of the public”.

North Yorkshire Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said he welcomed the “transparent and publicly accountable insight” that provides, but he warned that direct comparisons between forces was “not really possible”.

“No two forces are the same,” he added, “and the ways of working in a huge, largely rural policing area such as North Yorkshire can contrast markedly with a smaller, urban policing area.”