Online crime maps could have offender photos added

Darren Allan

June 27, 2011 crime maps are already online, allowing citizens in England and Wales to tap in their postcode and examine a detailed map of crimes which have occurred in their local area.

The crimes are marked with virtual pins on the map, along with the type of offence committed, although only the road and general area, not the exact location, is marked to keep some measure of anonymity.

Incidentally, sex crimes have been categorised as “other” along with minor offences such as shoplifting, to prevent reprisal attacks on sex offenders.

Now the Home Office wants to add extra details to these maps, specifically, names and mug-shots of those who have been convicted of a crime (subject to a risk assessment, depending on the individual’s exact offence).

The idea is the naming and shaming may act as a deterrent, although some have pointed out that these sort of reports are already carried by local newspapers (albeit not necessarily with a photograph).

A trial scheme has already been undertaken, organised by West Yorkshire police, carrying photos of offenders along with their names and exact details of their crime.

Adults given custodial sentences at the county’s crown courts have been subject to having the details of their wrongdoings published on the web, as well as adult convictions at Magistrates courts which are deemed to be of “significant public interest”.

A representative of the Home Office has already hailed it a successful measure. You can take a look at the West Yorkshire scheme, which is entitled In the Dock, here.


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