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September 2018
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Rock Kitchen Harris helps the Home Office become more transparent

The Home Office has extended its crime-mapping website, Police.uk, with a new hub for national crime data.

Designed and built by Leicester-based agency Rock Kitchen Harris, data.police.uk has already received global recognition and a high level of international interest since its launch in July. The website allows users to access information about crimes within the UK dating back to December 2010.

Downloading data from the new hub is as simple as checking a few boxes, and is provided in developer-friendly open CSV format, which has been used by academics, students, developers, journalists and researchers to draw compelling conclusions about crime in this country. For more advanced developers, a completely free API is available, allowing for data mashups to be created very easily.

Rock Kitchen Harris created the Police.uk website for the Home Office in 2009. The website allows users to track crime rates and incidents in their neighbourhood; it quickly became the government’s most visited website. The new data.police.uk site is an extension of the original website, and enhances the Home Office’s data offering, becoming even more transparent and open.

The June 2013 G8 Summit saw world leaders come together to sign the Open Data Charter, an agreement to improve the accessibility of data. Subsequently the issue of transparency has become higher on the government’s agenda than ever. The principles of the Charter state that all government data shall now be published by default, and that it must be accessible to all in a clear and simple format. At the recent G8 Summit, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, announced that “open is the new normal”.

Paul Sculthorpe, web director at Rock Kitchen Harris, said: “Being involved in such a high profile project as this has been fascinating. The need for transparency and open data has long been an issue, and Rock Kitchen Harris is delighted to be working with the Home Office to enhance the Police.uk data offering.

“We’ve been developing websites and web apps for over 15 years, and we’re keen developers ourselves, which is why we made sure that the data and API remain incredibly easy to use. The API already has thousands of developers, and we’re really excited to see how they will use the data to come up with their own apps.”

Since 2009 RKH has been continuously developing the Police.uk website which has not only

culminated in the launch of data.police.uk, but also led to RKH receiving a letter of commendation from the Home Office in December 2012 for its ongoing innovation and value for money.

Nici Hosfield, who leads the Police.uk project for the Home Office, said “We’re delighted with the positive response we’ve had to the new data hub. Data users have told us they really welcome the simple, clean design. We’re grateful to Rock Kitchen Harris for enabling us to make our data even more accessible and user-friendly”.

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