Crime data is important when understanding characteristics of an area. Elected Members, the public, voluntary organisations and other partners all make use of data from the Police, for numbers of crimes as well as trends. We put crime data into our ward profiles, by downloading data from data.police.uk, and wrangling it into the format we required for the charts and the tables. All police forces in England upload data to data.police.uk every month, but for us to then download that data and get it into the right format was prohibitively time consuming. It was also restrictive, in that if the partnership wanted to see data for a different geographical area (such as a town centre, or business zone) then the whole dataset would have to be reworked to reflect that.
Police.uk provide an API to access their data. This means that we can write instructions in a web-page to go and get that (those?) data on demand. We spent a bit of time understanding how to use the API, and working out how to get the data. We then put it into charts and a table by Ward, so that people can then use it as required.
It is now trivial for us to add in further geographical areas, and the partnership can now have access to the latest-available crime data about Trafford, without having to request it from Greater Manchester Police's analyst.
We figured that because it used to take us a long time, it would probably take others a long time too, so we made a version for all Wards in Greater Manchester. This really wasn't very much extra effort, but probably worthwhile.
Feel free to give the GM version a go - more detail is provided in that page, as well as options for feeding back.