Monthly Archives: April 2008

Crime Data for Mapping

There is much interest in publishing data about crime in ways which are accessible and useful to the public. In the data mashing world, this discussion naturally centres on the uses involving mapping as people have seen the examples of geographically presented data from the USA.

The Task Force has started to look into this subject. We are building a picture of the different data sources that are available and how they are currently presented on the internet.

The Home Office publish two main sources of crime data, the British Crime Survey (BCS) and police recorded crime. The BCS data provides national and regional trends. This is very high level and can have only general relevance to someone in their home trying to work out levels of crime in their neighbourhood. Police recorded crime is published annually at Basic Command Unit, Local Authority and Crime and Disorder Partnership levels, but none of these are fine enough to give information on crime levels in a person’s immediate neighbourhood.

Police Forces in England and Wales will publish in July this year more granular information on the crimes they record (so-called ‘recorded crime’). In particular the data should be localised and in some cases geo-tagged and catetgorised by types of crime. Each of the 43 forces will publish its own data. Some forces and third parties such as academics are already experimenting with online crime maps. We have put links in the rolling list of sites here.

The Taskforce will be working with Home Office, the police and other partners on how to present these fascinating new data sets in a form that is mashable. We are interested to hear from the mash up community, the police, academics, citizens, neighbourhood watch teams or anyone interested in crime mapping on what uses this could be put to and what issues to look out for. Please use the comment fucntion below to get in touch and start a discussion.

Article by Task Force Secretariat.

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Task Force Launch Speech

Power of Information: New taskforce

Speech by Tom Watson MP, Minister for Transformational Government

Monday, March 31 2008

We commissioned Ed Mayo [External website] and Tom Steinberg [External website] to write the Power of Information report [External website] because we knew that information, presented in the right way, was a potent driver for improving public services and government.

We also knew that there were new forms of community out there which government wasn’t currently able to talk to.

Tom and Ed did not let any of us down. Their report was comprehensive. Radical. Full of ideas. I’d like to thank them for their important contribution to the future. Public Sector Information and the need to engage new information communities were the original reasons we commissioned Power of Information.

Today I am going to offer two arguments that I think compliment the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on public service reform.

Firstly, that freeing up data will allow us to unlock the talent British entrepreneurs. And secondly, engaging people – using the simple tools that bring them together – will allow the talents of all our people to be applied to the provision of public services.

Free up data, liberate talent and catalyse creativity. Engage bring people together using simple tools and you empower. Let me tell you that I view the Power of Information agenda as the single most important policy area I have to deliver on in my role as Cabinet Office Minister.

It took me a bit of time to reach this conclusion. Understanding the implications of the report is a bit like asking the question, what is the Matrix? [External website] such is the profundity of the contents. But as a former trainee assistant librarian, how we collate, store, process, understand and use data is something that I’ve had an unnecessary fascination for many years.

And the Power of Information contributes an answer to a wider question about how government can develop the framework to manage our collective intellectual capital in the modern age.

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