back to article Police shut non-urgent crime reporting portal

An internet portal to enable the public to report non-urgent crime has been closed following "serious defects and delays". The Police Portal, an award winning secure electronic system to allow the public to alert the police to minor offences, has been shut. A spokesperson for the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) …

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  1. The Other Steve

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Fire ! Fire !

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I smell a rat

    "By 2007 the number of crimes reported on the portal reached nearly 3,000"

    Eh? only 3000 reports -- and it doesn't say in how many years that was reached, but if we assume even only one year, thats only 8 reports per day. One every 3 hours! Even a FREE site would cope with that level of traffic!

    I somewhat suspect that it was closed not because it wasn't good enough, but because it made it too EASY to report crime. The police don't like it being easy to report crimes unless they can solve them easily, because it makes them too accountable.

    So, instead of being tough on crime and its causes, they're tough on the REPORTING of it -- ie, they want to make it HARDER to report crimes. And THAT's almost certainly why they've closed it down, nothing whatsoever to do with its efficiency as a site.

  3. Mister Cheese
    Joke

    Ah, here's the problem...

    ...it's made in Britain.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nGjxO_Bfac

  4. Martin Gregorie Silver badge
    Unhappy

    WTF?

    So, the replacement system was botched, but why should that cause the pilot project to be canned as well?

    If the pilot was good enough to have won prizes, a bigger server should let it fill the gap until the replacement's replacement is ready.

  5. Tawakalna
    Stop

    well here's where it all went wrong..

    "The project was originally developed by BT, but in 2005 security and defence technology firm QinetiQ was awarded a new contract to provide and manage a replacement."

    need I say more?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Kable item is misleading...

    ... the online crime reporting section of the police portal at www.police.uk was actually shut down nearly *a year ago*... what has happened recently is that the contract for a replacement police portal, one that was intended to provide enhanced functionality, has been cancelled, leading to the falling-out.

    So "Police portal shuts" is hardly news... :-)

    PS - Paris Hilton is thought not to be involved in the decision to shut the portal...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    schocked

    public money spent on trendy technology project that is infact no better then pissing into the oncoming wind?

    Shocking, really really shocking.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    A list of Public service system failures

    is there one somewhere?

  9. Anonymous from Mars
    Joke

    Oh, there's the problem.

    Serious Defects and Delays? I can only imagine it went something like this:

    Please fill out the following information:

    Location of crime: [123 anywhere st]

    Time of crime: [12:43 PM]

    Name of crime: [u got haxed]

    Additional comments: ["; DROP TABLE crimes]

    There's the Defect, and the Delay is that nobody made a backup.

  10. Steve Welsh
    Alert

    .police.uk

    Mmmmmm

    Been down this particular road before. A 'whois' of .police.uk tells us that it is NOT controlled by Nominet.

    Why not, I ask?

    My previous efforts came to the conclusion that some organisation calling itself 'public interest internet' are somehow involved. As I recall, something to do withTucows.

    As far as trying to chase down police.uk, well I had neither the time nor inclination to follow it further, but the question still remains:

    WHY IS A .uk TLD NOT CONTROLLED BY NOMINET?

    More than meets the eye to this.

    I'll expect Plod and the CIA, FBI at my door in the morning...

  11. Rusticus

    @ I smell a rat

    << I somewhat suspect that it was closed not because it wasn't good enough, but because it made it too EASY to report crime. The police don't like it being easy to report crimes unless they can solve them easily, because it makes them too accountable. >>

    Load of twaddle. I know police-bashers usually aren't too bothered about whether their assertions make any sense, but the simple fact is that it's still considerably easier to ring the police up and say "I want to report a crime" than it ever was to fire up the computer, find the URL, log on, click here, click there, fill in a form and mail it in. Which, of course, is why most people continued to ring in even despite the existence of non-urgent recording portals.

    Plus, the optimistic but misguided imposition of the National Crime Recording Standard and the National Standard of Incident Recording means that police discretion as to whether something warrants a response and investigation has been entirely removed. The upshot of which is that your burglary/mugging/rape will just have to wait while the force in question wades through the morass of neighbour disputes, driving complaints and schoolyard scraps that they're no longer allowed to reject. And the situation isn't helped by the increasing number of armchair experts, fully trained through the 'The Bill' school of telly policing: for them, every angry word or badly-parked car is a crime and demands police attention.

    Police waste time dealing with petty nonsense not because they *want* to, but because the public and the government have said they must.

  12. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    WTF?

    So they had a system in place. That worked. So well that it won an award.

    So they decided to upgrade it. The upgrade project turned to custard like so many Government IT projects.

    So they shut down the existing system.....?

    One of the great teapot moments in the history of human endeavour IMHO.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Server overloaded

    The pilot went live in 2001.

    It's now the end of 2007.

    They only had 3,000 crimes reported.

    So 6 years gives about 2200 days. They got less than 2 reports per day - they'd be cheaper developing a downloadable word document and an email address that it can be sent to...

    The site can't have been as sexy as Paris, otherwise everyone would have wanted a go.

  14. Andy

    Rustius, twaddle back at ya!

    Twiddle Twaddle yourself!

    You can't put the blame of league tables and accountability on the

    'public'. It lies fair and square with the politicians and the police.

    My experience of the police in the last few years has been pretty

    poor, break ins, car torched, etc. The best I got was a crime number.

    The worst was verbal abuse, stating that they would arrest me for

    not reporting a motoring offense in the first 24 hrs. Each time they

    would try their best to not accept any crime or to give out a crime

    number. In short I agree with the tough on the reporting of crime.

    I now throw out a challenge, to see if anyone can come up with a

    situation where league tables have improved the activity which was

    being league tablized. Schools dont teach, they just want kids to

    pass exams. Nurses dont cure patients, just patch them and get

    an empty bed. Police dont police, they just avoid difficult crime

    and focus on motoring offenses. Universities with degrees not

    worth paper written on.... It's an amazingly depressing list.

    Problem is league tables are only measure one or two dimensions

    of an activity, and when you focus on them, it's at the expense of

    the other dimensions. Sad Sad Sad.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Andy

    Well I spent 10 hours last night dealing with drunks, abusive teenagers, criminal damage and a burglary - not one motoring offence. But I guess you know best from what you've read in the tabloids.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andy

    Perhaps you'd like to tell us exactly how you checked on the efficiency of schools, police, hospitals etc etc etc prior to these league tables existing.

    The league tables might well not be ideal, but they're far better than the non existent crap we had previously where no one was responsible for anything and any school, hospital etc could simply trudge along spending a fortune and achieving absolutely nothing.

  17. Rusticus

    @ Andy

    << You can't put the blame of league tables and accountability on the 'public'. >>

    I didn't. I blamed on the public the public's increasing inability to judge what's a serious problem and what's trivial, and *some* people's utter conviction that their tiny problem must by definition outweigh everyone else's huge problems.

    League tables, targets and the self-defeating obsession with statistics I blame firmly on politicians, whether they wear police uniforms or not.

    << My experience of the police in the last few years has been pretty poor, break ins, car torched, etc. The best I got was a crime number. >>

    No doubt. Sorry to hear you've had a bad time - but that, unfortunately, is the result of the aforementioned policies, not any desire by the police to focus on tiny crimes because they're 'easier'. I'm pretty convinced that the majority of police would prefer to be dealing with serious problems rather than the drivel these 'standards' oblige them to give time to.

    The trouble is that before the standards there was widespread public dissatisfaction when the police said "sorry, that's not really a police matter". Now there's similar dissatisfaction because they can't say that.

    So how DO you please all the people all the time?

    << a situation where league tables have improved the activity which was being league tablized. >>

    There aren't any. The entire statistics culture is based on the myth of game theory: that people, their needs, desires and aspirations can all be reduced to simple numerical formulae. And policing is fundamentally unquantifiable: you can't measure a crime that a police officer prevents by his or her mere presence, for example. To quote Robert Peel again:

    "The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it."

    So I wouldn't dream of suggesting that there isn't a problem: my only point here is that assuming the police - or members of any other public service - are all lazy slobs who don't want to bother doing the job is not only simplistic but also pretty much the opposite of the truth. It's not that they don't want to: it's that they're not being allowed to.

  18. Andy
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Coward

    No tabloid, just first hand experience.

  19. Andy
    Heart

    @rusticus et al

    rusty, aye, i formally retract my twiddle twaddle battle.

    anony coward, I can't believe you like the metric tables. Yes, I have first had experience and examples of all cases, mostly family members, nurses, lecturers all being told what to do....being told to do 'bad' things...in order to make the figures look better...it's only takes a bit of experience and intelligence to know what you are being told to do is fundamentally wrong...but hey ho

    everyone else, merry christmas...ho ho ho

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Steve Welsh

    Steve,

    A few minutes of research would have answered your question: see Appendix B at:

    http://www.nominet.org.uk/registrants/aboutdomainnames/rules/

    The short answer to your question is that police.uk is a *second* level domain - Nominet does indeed control the .uk TLD but the second-level domains listed in Appendix B (which includes .mil.uk, .gov.uk, .ac.uk, etc.) are administered by third-party registrars as trustees.

    Your details have been added to our intelligence system, and your landline and mobile number will be monitored until CCTV surveillance of your home confirms that you are just paranoid, and not really a threat to national security... :-)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its not the sytem its the operators

    I think those who say that the system was overloading the police,and not that the public were overloading the system have a very valid point. As a former police officer, it hurts to do so, but I have to admit that complaints of close friends and family members indicate a drdop in the service we get from the police service in general. A former colleague,recently retired, conformed low morale,always a good indicator of the level of service one can expect. He said that officers with as little time to serve as 5 years for retirement were talking of quitting beacuse of the conditions today. The abysmal response times are another indicator. Try getting a response when there is a pop concert or football or rugby event in your city centre. As far as getting it in Welsh as well, what that has to do with the price of chips I fail to see. I quote a Conserrvative member of the National Assembly for Wales. "If if the honourable member were drowning,would he cry for help in English or Welsh?" And yes, I do live in Wales, and No I don't speak welsh nor will I or my family ever do so, neither will thousands of others.

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