We saw the official launch of the Metropolitan crime mapping service this week after a few weeks of beta presence online.
The FAQ page covers the issue of data protection that we discussed on this blog a while back. The relevant Q+As are:
Has the Information Commissioners Office been consulted in respect of the MPS approach?
Yes. The MPS has consulted fully with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and the ICO is satisfied that the MPS has considered the data protection issues in crime mapping and that there are sufficient safeguards in terms of protecting the identity of victims of crime in relation to burglary, robbery and vehicle crime. The MPS will continue to seek advice from the ICO as the site continues to be developed.
In the USA crimes are published at street level and to a “point of occurrence”. Why can’t the MPS maps do the same?
In the UK the MPS is bound by the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act. The MPS is not allowed to publish data that may inadvertently identify a living individual with that data; to do so would be in direct contravention of these Acts. These acts ensure that individuals and victims physical safety and emotional well-being are protected. The MPS has worked closely with the Information Commissioners Office to ensure full compliance with legislation governing which and in what form crimes can be released.