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Home Office publishes draft reform plan

Crime data to be published

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Information sharing, the publication of crime data and support for the e-Borders programme are all in the Home Office Structural Reform Plan.

A draft (pdf) of the plan has been published on the department's website. It places an emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, increasing the accountability of the police, securing borders, protection from terrorism and the protection of civil liberties.

Among its proposals is to support the fight against crime by ensuring hospitals share non-confidential information with police on knife and gun crime and other serious violence. The Home Office will work with the Department of Health on the policies, with the aim of having them in place by April 2011.

It also aims to improve the recording of hate crime by setting up systems and providing a consolidated set of data for relevant offences, to be published in an open and standardised format. The target date for this is December of this year.

The document says that police actions to tackle crime can be made more transparent by the publication of local crime data every month in a standardised format. This should enable the public to obtain proper information about crime in their neighbourhoods, and hold the police to account for their performance. This is also scheduled to be in place by December.

It says the government plans to support the e-Borders programme for monitoring people's movements in and out of the country. This was introduced by the previous government and has attracted criticism from privacy activists, but the new government says it will use the systems to reintroduce exit checks by December 2014.

The document also reiterates the government's plans to abolish identity cards and the National Identity Register by the end of 2010, and to introduce a Freedom Bill. The latter will include outlawing of fingerprinting children at school without parental permission, new regulations on the use of CCTV, and new controls on the retention of DNA profiles on the DNA Database.

There are also plans to reduce bureaucracy in police forces by removing Stop and Account recording, reducing Stop and Search procedures, and developing options to pare back the police inspection and targets regime. The latter will focus on targets and data requests imposed on the police by the Home Office.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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