Crime-mapping website is expanded

People will be able to see how their police force compares to others in England and Wales as the Government's crime-mapping website is expanded from today.

Anyone logging on to the site will be able to check the performance of their force on crime rates, quality of service and victim satisfaction compared with the 42 other forces.

Users will also be able to see details of a wider range of offences reported on streets in their area, including public disorder, shoplifting, criminal damage and drugs offences for the first time.

The website, which crashed just hours after its launch in February leaving millions of users frustrated, has since had more than 430 million hits as people check the state of crime on their street.

Policing Minister Nick Herbert said: "We want to build on this success and deliver a more transparent and accountable criminal justice system.

"The addition of further crime categories and easy access to police force performance data will give people the information and power they need to hold their local forces to account and ensure that crime in their area is driven down."

It comes ahead of the controversial introduction of directly elected police and crime commissioners next year, which the Government says will help make forces more accountable to the people they serve.

By the end of the year, the website will include the naming of specific sites, such as football stadiums, parks and supermarkets, where crime and anti-social behaviour is concentrated.

By May next year, the website will also reveal what happened after a crime was reported to the police and track its progress through the courts.

When it was introduced, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said crime mapping could be "an effective means of letting people know what crimes are taking place in their local area".

But he warned that "care needs to be taken as this can potentially have an impact on the privacy of individuals such as victims or witnesses".