So, the police have launched an online website, http://www.police.uk, where you can view crime rates in your area, whom your local police are and any police events coming up in the near distance. It was launched yesterday and had over 18million page requests by the end of the day, pretty impressive by any feat. The whole project cost £300,000 of tax payers money, and due to the amount of page views, the website went down yesterday. The media have had a field day with it today, branding it a waste of money, a typical Government I.T project that ends in failure, but are these reports unjust? In short, yes, yes I think they are. In relative terms I think that £300,000 is actually very cheap for this kind of project. The layout of the website is clean and simple, the user experience has been well thought out in the whole process, and it has an api!
So, for all those whom are moaning about the website, be quiet, allow it time to bed it. As with every project on this scale, there will be problems at the beginning, and as to moaning about the website going down, who really anticipated 18 million page views in the first day!?
The site will be interesting to follow, to see if other departments will utilise the open data scheme set up by the Coalition Government, and to see how developers will use the api to build new apps, the opportunities are endless, online property websites can link crime rate data to properties for sale, it opens up police forces to local scrutiny, it allows parents to see crime rates in local school areas. Will this make people more scared of crime? No, I don't think so, unless you read the Daily Mail.
I have requested an api key so I can play around with it, once I have it I will be updating http://test.richardallen.co.uk/test.html, which is a playground I set up to dick about with the google maps api, hopefully I'll be able to overlay crime rates and add some funky graphics, or possibly even link twitter/facebook usernames that updated their status in the same location at the same time as the reported crime...who knows, we may even be able to solve some!