MD2181 Safestats crime and community safety data portal

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2181
Date signed: 
14 November 2017
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

This MD requests approval for the receipt and expenditure of £376,000 over 2017/18 to 2019/20 to continue providing the Intelligence Unit Safestats data portal for the next three years, while rebuilding the system to replace ageing technology and improve the service.  Safestats hosts a variety of crime and community safety datasets on a secure platform available to authorised analysts.   A modern system will provide improved capability to support the Mayor’s priorities around crime, public safety, and public health.
Pursuant to service level agreements with the GLA, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) and Transport for London (TfL) pay for their data to be processed and hosted on the Safestats system.  The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) provides funding to the GLA as part of its Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (ISTV) project.  The net cost to the GLA is zero over the three years.  Payments from LFEPA, TfL and MOPAC have already been received as income in advance for 2017/18.  These monies will be used the GLA for the system redevelopment.
 

Decision

That the Mayor approves:

•    receipt of £376,000 from TfL, LFEPA and MOPAC (of which £134,000 has already been received as income in advance). TfL and LFEPA contributions for data processing and hosting are received via service level agreements;
•    the payment of £80,000 (of the £376,000) in the form a revenue grant from MOPAC to the GLA under section 121 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999; and
•    the expenditure of £376,000, as per the profile at paragraph 5.3, to continue providing existing Safestats services and to fund the rebuilding of the system to facilitate an improved analytical capability. 
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    SafeStats is a unique and secure data platform hosting a variety of crime and community safety datasets in one place, and making these available to authorised analysts in the Greater London Authority (GLA) / Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), Boroughs and Metropolitan Police. The web-based portal provides instant access to these data which together provide the most rounded picture of crime hotspots in London, and a variety of tools to use for different strategic and operational analysis. SafeStats is often used nationally and internationally as a model for sharing crime data. An example is the collaboration with Professor Jonathan Shepherd who developed the ‘Cardiff model’ showing how sharing anonymised hospital emergency department assault data between public agencies could reduce crime.

1.2    SafeStats has been built up incrementally since 2001 when it was part of the Government Office for London, and has been managed and hosted by the GLA Intelligence Unit since 2006. The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and Transport for London pay for their data to be processed and hosted by the system. In addition, SafeStats has been an integral part of the Home Office funded ‘Information Sharing to Tackle Violence’ project managed by MOPAC, to bring together and provide access to data on violent incidents reported to London’s 29 hospital A&E departments. Funding from MOPAC is provided to cover the processing, harmonisation and hosting of suppliers’ data and make this available securely to a large range of authorised users.

1.3    The current IT infrastructure dates back to 2007, and does not use standard GLA technology making it difficult to maintain as the system has encountered increasing performance issues. Funders see the need for a more fundamental overhaul of SafeStats drawing on the substantial improvements to IT capability and data analytics that have advanced over the last 10 years. 

1.4    The rebuilding work will be funded from these contributions and it is estimated that it will take two to three years in total. This will allow us to move to cloud-based data hosting, develop APIs to update data via web-feeds and the creation of a wider set of tailored analytical tools for users. This would increase the range of uses to which the data are put, allow it to address a greater range of Mayoral priorities and bring in new paying customers (e.g. local authorities on the border with London). This will in turn improve the longer-term financial sustainability of the system, and help generate the resources to ensure it is continually maintained and improved. The Intelligence Unit will work together with the Technology Group and Digital services to build a flexible in-house system where possible, but we anticipate that we will need to procure external IT development expertise for some aspects of this work e.g. developing data APIs.  

1.5    There is interest from some organisations - e.g. the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) - in creating a national version of some of the datasets, and from some of the crime authorities surrounding London in adding their data to the system. Obtaining data across a larger geographical area would have benefits for Boroughs in Outer London in particular. The current system is unsuitable for geographical expansion and limits this future potential and financial sustainability.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    Supporting the Mayor’s priorities around crime and public safety, health and the economy including keeping children and young people safe, tackling violence among women and girls, cracking down on knife crime, Thrive London: Improving mental health, Building a 24 hour London, and Regeneration: Improving London’s public spaces and High Streets.

2.2    Providing near real-time access to crime data to support operational and tactical crime reduction as well as provide an expanded range of data for strategic analysis.

2.3    A reliable modern system/service to receive, store and process data – with data that can be updated frequently or even in real-time.

2.4    A flexible range of secure interactive web and data tools catering for a broad range of analysts.

2.5    Provision of data to users via secure feeds where necessary and provision of a reliable service. 

2.6    Increased range of users to benefit from the system, by allowing different levels of data access.

2.7    Ability to draw on GLA Technology standards to enable better technical support. 

2.8    The system will have the potential to expand initially to areas immediately outside London (e.g. for A&E data around the London boundary) but potentially further and even nationally, in order to generate income to keep it updated.

2.9    Providing access to data that are not otherwise available to analysts and GLA Group members e.g ambulance service, hospital A&E records.
 

Equality comments

3.1 While there are no direct equality impacts, analyses conducted using the data contained in the Safestats system are used to inform the Mayor on areas of London which are affected by a range of crimes (including those not reported to the police), and vulnerable people who are victims of crime.

Other considerations

4.1 Without replacement over this period, it is likely that current system become increasingly inoperable in the medium term, and those who currently invest in the system may discontinue their input. This would mean that Boroughs are less likely to use these data in their work as it will become much more difficult to source the data from a range of different places. Policy/Borough strategies are less likely to be informed by evidence. There is also a risk of non-compliance with GDPR.

4.2 Both discontinuing Safestats and continuing with the system in its current state would result in a reputational risk to the GLA around its commitment to aspects of the Police and Crime Plan, such as the Information Sharing to Tackle Violence project
 

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for the GLA to receive and spend £376,000 of external income to continue providing the existing Safestats service while rebuilding the system in order to improve the service provided. 

5.2    There are no costs to the GLA for Safestats except minimal ongoing TG support to make sure systems are hosted and backed up within existing IT operations.  Any significant work required from TG is paid for from the Safestats budget. 
 
5.3    The Intelligence Unit seeks authorisation to reprofile income and expenditure as follows: 

Financial Year

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

Income

£228,000

£94,000

£54,000

Expenditure

£90,000

£186,000

£100,000

5.4    The annual cost of running and maintaining Safestats is £54,000 per year. The cost of the redevelopment will be £214,000 spread over three years.

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Ongoing data processing and publishing on existing system

January 2018-December 2019

Internal rebuild of data processing

January-December 2018

Procurement of front end user interface

January 2018

Delivery of initial user interface

June 2018

Procurement of analytical platform and tools

April-June 2018

Delivery of Phase 1 analytical platform

April 2019

MOPAC ISTV project closes and data fully incorporated into new platform

April 2019

Delivery of Phase 2 analytical tools

October 2019

Full Integration of platform and user interface, old system discontinued

January 2020

Project Closure

March 2020