It’s now over two years since we launched street-level crime mapping on police.uk. The public response has been, and continues to be, phenomenal. Since launching in January 2011,police.uk has had nearly 550 million hits (just short of 54 million visits), with the daily average in January 2013 being over 365,000 hits.
Street-level crime mapping is part of this Government’s commitment to ever greater transparency, showing people the crime and anti-social behaviour that’s taking place in their neighbourhoods, as well as what happens after a crime has occurred – police and court action and outcomes. Police.uk not only provides this information in a very much more accessible form than government traditionally has in the past, we also make the underlying data freely available for reuse – both as CSV files and via the application programme interface (API) on which the police.uk site is built. The software and licences used to build police.uk are open and free to use and the datasets available include monthly crime and outcome data, both at street-level and neighbourhood level.
Over 1,500 developers have signed up to use the police.uk API for a wide variety of purposes. For example, Southern Water use our data for staffing levels and managing their logistics and NewsQuest Media Group integrate our data into their local news publications. To make it easier still, we’ve removed the sign-up process to provide instant access to the API. This has helped facilitate its use at numerous hack days and similar events, giving rise to innovation such as the Postcode Wars app (http://hacks.rewiredstate.org/events/yrs2012/postcode-wars) which won “best example of coding” at Young Rewired State in 2012. We love to see this kind of development and broader use and we provide links to apps that we know about, built using police.uk data, at www.police.uk/apps. If you’ve produced a product or service using this data, do please do let us know and we would really like to publish details on Police.uk.
Over the coming months we hope to support many more developers to build products and services using police.uk data. In particular, we will be working with the Open Data Institute on the crime and justice strand of its immersion programme – a new model for developing businesses from open data. You can find out more about the ODI and the immersion programme by visiting: http://www.theodi.org/
As part of this, we’re keen to talk more often and more directly to developers, and to facilitate more interaction between users and potential users of our data. It’s for this reason that I’m pleased to welcome you to our new data.gov.uk forum for users of the crime, anti-social behaviour and justice data that we make available at www.police.uk/data. The primary purpose of this forum is to enable data users to ask questions about the data, suggest improvements or raise concerns, and to receive a public response from us. We are undertaking to provide an initial response to any query within two weeks …although obviously we’ll aim for something very much quicker than that where we can, not least because we would really welcome the opportunity to talk directly with a wide range of data users. We also plan to use this forum to provide information about any changes that are made to data as part of police forces’ regular monthly uploads. We will also be flagging up forthcoming changes to the data as well as plans for new developments to the website.
Finally, we are also setting up a ‘data user group’ made up of individuals who would be interested in attending ad hoc meetings and events to discuss a range of issues in more detail – including our development plans for police.uk data and the website. If you’d like to get involved in this, then please get in touch with Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation at http://data.gov.uk/forum/policeuk-data.
Thanks for reading and for stopping by in the first place. But please stay and start making use of the forum – we’d love to talk to you!