They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. So I was mildly amused today to pick up the Evening Standard to find that Boris Johnson’s crime manifesto today pledged to do something we already offer for free !
According to the Evening Standard in the Crime Fighting part of Boris Johnson’s overall plan, he would “Publish monthly crime figures and police numbers for every borough“. Well, you can see monthly crime numbers by borough here and if they do go ahead and publish Borough Force numbers on a monthly basis, we could put that in easily too. Let’s hope they don’t do down the road of yet another tax-funded website like police.uk.
Another part of the manifesto that did concern me was the pledge to “Develop (a) smartphone crime reporting app“. Why would they spend taxpayers money developing that when they could release the data and developers could not only compete with each other to do a better job, but do it for free at no cost to the taxpayer?
I’m all for our politicians taking an open-minded closer look at what technology can do against crime and inefficiency. But I’d rather not have to keep pointing out that the role of government is to release the data, not develop it and crowd out private sector job creation and tax revenue.
Meanwhile, unless I’m mistaken, Ken Livingstone’s programme meanwhile appears to be devoid of any technology solution.
So on this admittedly very narrow point, I’m not sure who’s better or worse !