Millions of hits crash crime-mapping website

The Government's new crime-mapping website attracted 300,000 hits a minute today, leaving millions frustrated as the site crashed within hours of being launched.









Up to 18 million hits an hour froze the site, which was designed to give people the information they need to hold their local police to account.



The Home Office blamed "temporary" problems with the site at http://www.police.uk, adding it was delighted with the "extremely high demand".



Writing on Twitter, the Home Office said: "Most popular gov website ever? Demand for new crime maps at around 300k a minute, equivalent to 18m hits an hr. Working hard to make sure everyone can access."













Early glitches in the way the crime figures were collected also caused problems, with Sussex Police's main call handling centres ranking highly on the crime map and "quiet streets" next to large commercial centres being tarred with their crimes.



Bolnore Road in Haywards Heath, West Sussex - where the force HQ is based - showed abnormally high levels of anti-social behaviour.



A Sussex Police spokesman said the high figures related to hoax calls which were recorded on site because there was no alternative location.



The problem also raised questions about how other forces had collated their data.



And the inclusion of a "quiet street" as one of the most crime-ridden in the country was branded "crackers" by the local council.



Surrey Street in Portsmouth, Hampshire, was shown as having 136 crimes, including burglary, violence and anti-social behaviour in December.



But the street, which is less than 100 metres long, is home only to a "respectable" pub used by postal workers, a car park and a block of flats.



Councillor Eleanor Scott, who is responsible for community safety at Portsmouth City Council, said the figures were a blight on the street and its pub, The Surrey Arms.



She said that while the website was showing "too many" crimes for Surrey Street, it failed to record the burglary of her own home elsewhere in Portsmouth.



"It's a tiny street, there's a few flats, a car park and a nice respectable pub where the postal workers from the nearby postal depot stop for a drink," she said.



"If Portsmouth is anything to go by, this website is a complete farce, it's identifying wrong crime epicentres and missing out crimes in other areas, so you can't rely on it."



The crime map was "distorted and inaccurate", she added.



Chief Superintendent Nigel Hindle, commander of Portsmouth police, said the postcode of Surrey Street was used to record incidents of retail crime such as shoplifting from the adjacent commercial centre and violent crime from the bars and clubs of nearby Guildhall Walk.



Yesterday, Home Secretary Theresa May said the maps would help people find out what was really going on in their area.



Glovers Court in Preston and its surrounding area was the most crime-ridden place in England and Wales, the figures showed.



More than 150 crimes and incidents of anti-social behaviour, including 44 violent crimes, were reported on the street or nearby in December alone - the highest figure for any street in England and Wales during December.



Mrs May denied that making such detailed information available would drive down house prices in a particular area, saying: "It's not the existence of a map on a website that affects it."



Policing Minister Nick Herbert also insisted that the more detailed information on the site, which cost £300,000 to develop, would not increase the fear of crime.



"We can't sweep crime under the carpet," he said.



"We have to tell the truth about crime, we have to reveal the truth about what is happening and give the information and the power to the public.



"It's the crime that's the problem and this is a very important part of a strengthened effort to fight crime, to enhance accountability, to ensure that something is being done and to involve the public in that fight."



Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper welcomed the crime maps, but said they "should also include police strength for forces across the UK".



"Knowing where crime takes place isn't enough if there aren't sufficient police to deal with it," she said.



"People want to know what effect the Government's deep and rapid cuts to the police are going to have on their area."



Mark Burns-Williamson, deputy chairman of the Association of Police Authorities (APA), said: "Crime mapping brings accountability to the armchair for everyone who wants to monitor crime on their street.



"The popularity of crime mapping shows people identify with, and want to influence, their neighbourhood and their district, and that accountability must be accessible."



A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The site is experiencing extremely high demand today - around four to five million per hour. We are delighted with the response which shows how popular this new information is with the public.



"This is a temporary problem and we are working hard to fix it and hope to have the website back up shortly."



Information Commissioner Christopher Graham added that 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".

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on