The Future of Public Facing Crime Mapping in the UK

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Author: Spencer Chainey, Balraj Sandhu, Alison Wellens, Greg Whissenant   |  

Given the recent unveiling of London-wide crime maps by the Metropolitan Police and the GLA, now is the perfect time to discuss the rationale behind them, to debate the experiences from elsewhere, and to discuss whether they go far enough to give people the information they want to know. We assembled an important and influential group of people involved in this area to tackle precisely these questions. They were:

Spencer Chainey. Spencer is the Director of Geographical Information Science at the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, UCL. Spencer is one of the pioneers in the field of crime mapping. His work is widely recognised and used by the many bodies including Government, the Audit Commission and the United States Department of Justice. His work includes the US Department of Justice booklet ‘Understanding Hotspots’, and his definitive book on ‘GIS and Crime Mapping’, co-authored with Jerry Ratcliffe.

Balraj Sandhu. Balraj is the project manager for the Police and Crime Performance Unit at the Home Office, and is heavily involved in the implementation of crime mapping in the UK.

Alison Wellens. Alison is Head of the Data Protection Practice Public Sector Team at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Her role involves working with, and advising, public sector organisations on data protection considerations. Most recently she advised the Metropolitan police and GLA on privacy considerations in relation to the crime maps for London.

Greg Whissenant. Greg is the Director and founder of, which is the largest private commissioned company involved in crime mapping in the US. They produce maps showing extremely granular information about the location and detail of crimes, even down to the level of individual houses.