Can I use the website to report a crime?

No. In an emergency, always call 999. To report less urgent crimes or disorder call the police non-emergency number 101. You can find more information on 101 here.

What have you done to ensure that my privacy is protected on the crime map?

Since the beginning of 2009, Police.uk has published street level crime and anti-social behaviour statistics from all Police forces in England and Wales. This allows members of the public to see what is happening in their local area.

Since the first publication, Police.uk has been developed to include information relating to ‘Justice Outcomes’ (introduced in May 2012 and provided by partners in the criminal justice system) and ‘Stop and Search’ activity (introduced with a sample of forces in April 2015).

What do the dots on the map represent?

Each dot marks the approximate location of where a crime or incident of anti-social behaviour has occurred. To ensure privacy of individuals, incidents of crime or anti-social behaviour are mapped to a point on, or near, the street where it happened, rather than the actual location itself. This is referred to as a ‘snap point’.

For example: A burglary at 10 Made-up Street on 20th December 2016

To show how the Police.uk website maps the location of a crime/incident, the example of a burglary at a house will be used. The burglary took place at 10 Made-up Street on 20th December 2016, the location of which is shown (as the blue dot) on the image below:

  1. Original approximate location of a burglary

    A marker over a house at the crime’s original location, and seven other houses on the same road.

    Rather than put a dot over the house where the burglary took place (10 Made-up Street) and identify the victim. The website will move the location of this incident to the nearest snap point location, as shown in the diagram below:

  2. Snap-point location where the burglary is moved to on Police.uk

    A marker in the middle of the road pictured above.

    The Police.uk website will put a dot in the middle of Made-up Street and the descriptive text will state `there has been a burglary on or near Made-up Street`.

If the street where the incident occurred has less than eight postal addresses, the dot will be moved to the nearest street with the required number of postal addresses.

Please note:

Due to the application of snap-point methodology, users of the Police.uk website should be aware that when viewing street-level maps, the data published on the website does not necessarily portray exact locations of where the crime/incident occurred.

How do you decide where the dots (which represent a crime or incident) are?

Data is provided by forces directly to Police.uk, they then upload the data onto the website. Police.uk then automatically calculates the nearest snap point where the crime / incident should be mapped to, and it is this location which is presented on the website.

Please note:

Snap-point methodology has been developed by Police.uk in consultation with the Information Commissioners Office and Data protection specialists. These are revised on a periodical basis.

For detailed information about the anonymisation process please refer to the about page on data.police.uk.

Are incidents on a moving train included on crime maps?

Yes. Crimes and ASB which occur on a moving train are attributed to the end destination of that journey. Please visit crimemaps.btp.police.uk/about/ for more information.

Why are some crimes not displayed on the map?

Wherever possible all incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour are displayed on the map, on or near the street or point of interest that they happened. However, there may be certain incidents where the location of the crime is not known by the victim or investigating police force. For example, the victim may not know or be able to recall where a crime took place, or it may have occurred during travel between two locations.

Additionally, if anonymising the crime location would lead to it being shown more than 20km from where it actually took place, then these crimes are not shown on the map.

All crime and anti-social behaviour data on Police.uk is provided by individual police forces and we will work with them to provide the most accurate information as possible. You can find out more about the data at data.police.uk/about/.

Why are there differences between the crime data on Police.uk and crime statistics published by the Office for National Statistics?

Police.uk provides a snap-shot of crimes and anti-social behaviour at street-level over the past month. The information provided is subject to change and can be reclassified following further investigation.

Police.uk does not replace national crime statistics which are quality assured by statisticians, published quarterly and provide the most accurate information about trends in crime at national and police force level.

For more information see the Office for National Statistics' Crime and Justice page.

Why do outcomes vary by crime?

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent judiciary, who make their decisions based on the full facts of each case. These facts will vary for each case and therefore the outcomes (sentences) are also likely to vary. The crime categories featured on Police.uk are very broad and capture a wide range of offences and severity of offence; for example 'violent crime' will include common assault and murder. Therefore, the type of outcomes will vary considerably.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is unable to answer questions on specific sentencing decisions. If an individual is unhappy with their sentencing outcome they can appeal to a higher court.

Out-of-court punishments given by the police can be a vital tool for dealing with low level crime in the community. That is why the police and criminal justice agencies are working together to ensure there is a clear and consistent approach which victims and communities can understand. However, individual decisions remain an operational matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service.

Open.justice.gov.uk provides more information about how the justice system.

What do the crime categories mean?

All crime
Total for all categories.
Anti-social behaviour
Includes personal, environmental and nuisance anti-social behaviour.
Bicycle theft
Includes the taking without consent or theft of a pedal cycle.
Burglary
Includes offences where a person enters a house or other building with the intention of stealing.
Criminal damage and arson
Includes damage to buildings and vehicles and deliberate damage by fire.
Drugs
Includes offences related to possession, supply and production.
Other crime
Includes forgery, perjury and other miscellaneous crime.
Other theft
Includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment.
Possession of weapons
Includes possession of a weapon, such as a firearm or knife.
Public disorder and weapons
Includes offences which cause fear, alarm, distress or a possession of a weapon such as a firearm.
Public order
Includes offences which cause fear, alarm or distress.
Robbery
Includes offences where a person uses force or threat of force to steal.
Shoplifting
Includes theft from shops or stalls.
Theft from the person
Includes crimes that involve theft directly from the victim (including handbag, wallet, cash, mobile phones) but without the use or threat of physical force.
Vehicle crime
Includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle.
Violence and sexual offences
Includes offences against the person such as common assaults, Grievous Bodily Harm and sexual offences.

A complete mapping between Home Office Offence Codes and the Categories on Police.uk can be downloaded here.

Why does Police.uk not show outcomes for every crime?

This is the first step towards publishing more information on what happens after a crime is recorded. However, there are some reasons as to why you may not be able to see an outcome for a crime, which include:

  1. Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

    Police.uk provides an up-to-date picture of where incidents of ASB recorded by the police have occurred at street level but it is not yet possible to show what happened afterwards. This is because, unlike recorded crimes which are investigated by the police, a number of local agencies work together to respond to ASB and this set up varies across the country. As such, the way in which outcomes are recorded also varies considerably across the country. We will explore ways to show this information in the future.

  2. Different IT systems

    For technical reasons, some crimes which go to the courts cannot yet be matched to an outcome. The number of court outcomes that can be shown varies from area to area due to the different IT systems in place across the country. Criminal justice agencies have had to retrospectively make their IT systems compatible. While the outcomes on Police.uk show the progress that has been made in that respect, it is still a work in progress. The Ministry of Justice is working with police forces to match outcomes to all crimes that go to court and we expect the level of information to improve over time as new IT systems and solutions are introduced.

  3. More than one outcome

    We display data for the most punitive outcome given by the court, therefore sometimes an offender could be given more than one outcome but only the most punitive will be shown e.g. an offender may have been asked to pay a fine by the court and ordered to pay compensation to the victim, but if the fine was the greater amount only this outcome will be displayed.

All cases will be dealt with appropriately by the justice system, even if an outcome is not represented in the data at the current time.

Why do some crimes have multiple actions or outcomes listed?

For some crimes more than one offender is charged and prosecuted, and so there may be more than one set of actions or outcomes listed for that crime (e.g. 'Suspect charged' is listed more than once, which reflects multiple offenders involved in a crime).

Although this makes the information more complex to present we believe it is better to provide the public with information on all the actions and outcomes that result from a crime being committed.

Why does such a large proportion of crime result in no action being taken against offenders? Can it be improved and, if so, how?

The police and the Crown Prosecution Service have to make an assessment of the evidence available, whether it is witness, forensic or even hearsay. In circumstances where there is insufficient evidence, the decision may be taken to focus resources on those offences which are capable of being charged and prosecuted. There might be a number of reasons why no further action was possible. Some cases are just undetectable. However, cases can be reopened if more evidence becomes available.

Why does an outcome category have a zero result?

This could be for a number of reasons including:

  • There haven't been any outcomes recorded for a particular category within that month.
  • There will be a significant proportion of cases where there hasn't been a sufficient amount of time for an outcome to be reached. Current data only relates to crimes after 1st January 2012.
  • The data is currently unavailable and matching the crime with an outcome is not possible. This varies by police force.

How long does it take for a criminal justice outcome to be recorded on Police.uk from when a crime is first recorded?

This will largely depend on the crime. The vast majority of crimes end with a police action, for example when a fixed penalty notice is issued or where no further action is possible, and this will show on Police.uk as soon as possible. Approximately 16 per cent of crimes are considered by the courts and can take significantly longer to reach a final outcome, depending on the nature of the case.

Does Police.uk reflect all of the work that is undertaken locally to tackle crime?

The maps on Police.uk provide information about the location and outcomes of crimes recorded in your area but not the wider work by the police and local partners to help make your community safer. You can visit your local police force website, contact your police and crime commissioner, attend a regular beat meeting or get in touch with your Neighbourhood Police Team to find out more.

How often is the information on the website updated?

We endeavour to update this website on or before the last working day of each month. This update will map incidents reported to the police in the preceding month. For example, an incident of crime or anti-social behaviour reported to the police on 10th January will be published on the website on or before the last working day of February.

How much does the website cost?

The Police.uk contract has been awarded to Rock Kitchen Harris (RKH) and runs until July 2017. Police.uk support & hosting is £389,040 and Online Crime Reporting is £180,000 which equals a total of £569,040

You can find the current Police.uk contract on the DATA.GOV.UK Contract Archive.

How will you develop Police.uk in the future?

We are continually seeking to enhance the site to better meet our objectives, which are to:

  • Inform local communities about crime in their area and what is being done to tackle it by the police and CJS.
  • Enable the public to engage with/access the police and CJS.
  • Support the public to hold their local police/PCCs and other CJS agencies to account.
  • Promote community activism in support of crime prevention and community safety.
  • Increase confidence in the CJS.

We are already working with police and other partners in 'trailblazer' areas to explore how we can drive even greater transparency across crime, policing and justice. Please let us know what developments you would like to see via the feedback page. It really can make all the difference and based on previous emails we have already made the following improvements:

  • Introduced more crime categories to provide more granular, detailed information.
  • Added information about how your local police force is performing.
  • Placed more dots on the map to improve accuracy and begin to show crimes and ASB at key locations such as railway stations, parks, and shopping centres.
  • Showing what happens after a crime has occurred.
  • Included crime and anti-social behaviour data for Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
  • Improved functionality to save and share customised drawn shapes.
  • Launched our new data hub, data.police.uk

What are 'trailblazer' areas working on?

Trailblazer areas are testing local initiatives to see how we can drive transparency even further and faster nationally. For example:

  • Greater Manchester Police are improving the responsiveness and transparency of stop and search encounters, transforming their process through use of radio systems rather than paper forms. We will explore with GMP how this data can be mapped to provide local communities with accessible information about police operations.
  • Community Safety Partnerships in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have launched Crime Reports which releases more frequent and detailed information (crimereports.co.uk).
  • Avon and Somerset has developed TrackMyCrime which is a case-tracking system for victims (trackmycrime.police.uk).
  • Humberside Probation Trust will be developing 'storyboards' that follow the day to day experience of Community Payback. Crime hot spots will be identified, and the public will be invited to vote on the most deserving 'hot spot projects'.
  • Surrey Police and partnerships are exploring the use of QR (quick response) codes, particularly for community engagement and crime reporting.
  • Justice trailblazer forces in West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire have played a crucial role in delivering the key Prime Ministerial commitment to use Police.uk to show what happens after a crime has occurred.
  • North Yorkshire Police are building on and enhancing their 'Caught on Camera' initiative, which shows images of suspects and witnesses involved in a crime on their website and social media channels. North Yorkshire want to explore mapping these, by location of incident, online. Outstanding suspects could then be identified by a 'captive audience' with local knowledge, empowering local communities.
  • In addition, Dyfed-Powys and South Wales are piloting a newsletter template that allows neighbourhood policing teams to update and engage their local community.
  • Devon and Cornwall Police will work with their Deaf community to develop digital services in BSL that meets their needs. Using the latest digital services to enable a move to service provision in BSL represents a significant shift in how forces can engage with the Deaf community and improve access to the police and reporting of crime.
  • Norfolk Police will work with migrant community groups to improve access to the police and reporting of crime for the most vulnerable people within those communities, particularly around sexual offences and domestic abuse of children and young people. Norfolk will work in partnership with local community groups, teachers and healthcare staff to increase third party reporting on domestic and sexual abuse for children and young people.
  • West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police are developing separate customer insight projects to better understand how high quality service can drive customer contact and help migrate customers to alternative channels, such as telephone services.