Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships

Garrick Alder has been developing nauseous feelings about Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships.
VERY soon now, crime and disorder will be mapped out on a house-to-house level and displayed on the internet. The maps will be searchable by anyone, including insurance companies, and will also incorporate aerial photography. Backstage, vast amounts of highly sensitive data - including your medical notes - will be sloshed around on local government and emergency services intranet - and across the internet too. Members of the public will be encouraged to submit complaints of anti-social behaviour via email. The resulting crime maps will be used to provide information for, among other things, decisions about architecture in afflicted areas.

And the best thing about the new Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) is that no one knows about them.

The CDRPs are hybrids composed of elements from (and data-sharing between) local councils, police forces, ambulance trusts, social services, trading standards, fire brigades, youth teams... you name it. These bodies have swapped notes (occasionally and informally) for years but what is happening now is something totally new in the British experience. What was previously a grapevine between the different bodies is becoming a hotline instead, as a new system is bolted laboriously into place.

How did this happen? And why haven't you noticed before now? Let's take the two questions in order.

The first is very simple: The "Labour" party's Crime and Disorder Act 1998 placed "a duty on local authorities to consider the crime and disorder implications of all their policies and practices." Which was all very well as far as it went, since Britain's local councils were constitutionally committed to just that anyway and always had been. But the "Labour" party's Police Reform Act 2002 then extended the same duty to police forces .. and fire authorities... and NHS Primary Care Trusts.

And it didn't place anyone in charge.
Thanks to ARCH for the link.

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