Perceptions of the Police and Crime Mapping Trailblazers
Funded by: Home Office
November 2011 to February 2012
Background, summary and aims
Background, Scope and Aims
The crime mapping service for England and Wales launched in October 2009, providing the public with information about crime and policing at local area level, to inform their engagement with local policing teams. Subsequently, the Coalition government committed to enabling the provision of crime data at street level (launched in January 2011); to work towards the provision of data more frequently; and to provide information about justice outcomes alongside crime data. In order to further develop these commitments, six trailblazer sites were identified to trial new initiatives. The aim of the research is to explore the implementation of, and public engagement with, the activities taking place in the trailblazer sites. These comprise a range of initiatives providing greater detail and frequency of crime data; extending the utility of data through mobile phone applications; and increasing access to justice by showing outcomes and case tracking for victims of crime.
The evaluation uses qualitative methodology, gathering data from different stakeholders. The project will be divided into four iterative phases:
- Phase 1: Trailblazer familiarisation – discussions with key local contacts and gathering of documentary material
- Phase 2: Stakeholder interviews – 22 interviews with key local stakeholders involved in the initiatives from the police, local authority, community safety partnership and courts service
- Phase 3: Focus groups – 12 focus groups with members of the public, who have differing levels of involvement in the initiatives/website, and with different demographic characteristics. Focus groups are to include ‘seldom heard’ groups, which might include certain ethnic groups, people with high fear of crime, digitally excluded
- Phase 4: Analysis, reporting and presentations
Importance of Research
The trailblazer initiatives are trialling new ways of informing citizens about crime and policing in order to increase confidence and accountability in the police. This is a key element in the Coalition Government’s agenda, which emphasises local public engagement as a means of holding services to account, in place of national level targets and accountability structures. Another key development in this agenda is the planned introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners and Panels at force level, replacing Police Authorities as structures of accountability for the police service. These are intended to provide greater democratic accountability and community engagement in policing, and providing accurate information to the public to enable meaningful engagement with the police, is an important part of this. The research contributes to this agenda by evaluating a series of new initiatives at the leading edge of this agenda.