UK to issue public crime maps

Crime victims will be able to see what happened to criminals who preyed on their neighbourhood in a new online service being planned by the Government.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw will on Wednesday announce plans for sentences handed down in court to go on the web which the public will be able to trace to their local areas.

It means residents being able to see which burglars, muggers and other criminals targeted their homes and streets and what punishment they were given.

Officials hope to link the facility to the crime map websites, which police forces already provide allowing the public to see what crimes were committed in their immediate area.

A Whitehall source said: “The Green Paper outlines proposals for the ways in which communities will be provided information about crimes in their local areas which most interest and affect them.”

However crime maps have already been criticised for the inconsistency in quality from one force to another, while some civil liberty groups are likely to be concerned about publishing details of offenders online and the risk of vigilante attacks.

They have also been criticised for potentially allowing criminals to identify target areas while chartered surveyors said they could cause house prices to fall in the worst-hit areas.

The move is part of a range of measures to be unveiled today to get the public more engaged in the criminal justice system and restore its battered reputation.

Other plans include the establishment of “community prosecutors” where senior crown prosecutors in local areas will liaise with the police over the biggest crime issues while also being given a higher profile so the public know who they are.

There will also be “justice pioneer” areas which will pilot specific community justice programmes.

The Ministry of Justice green paper aims follows a report by the Government’s crime and justice advisor, Louise Casey, last year which warned Britain was becoming a ‘walk on by’ society where law-abiding citizens are unwilling to help victims of violent crime.

The report said people had lost faith in the system and warned crime could ‘strangle whole neighbourhoods’ if the problem was not addressed.

It first raised the prospect of crime maps, which were launched just months later, as well as shaming criminals by publishing their names and pictures on the internet.

Another proposal, making criminals wear high visibility clothing while carrying out community punishments has also already been implemented, as has giving the public a say in what the nature of what some community punishment work should be.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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