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Thursday, 26 August 2010

The historical exploits of James Cousins

There is something very British about this story and one that is not totally unrelated to the previous blog posting.

James Cousins, an elected Conservative Councillor seems to have spent a disproportional amount of time over the last 18 months point mapping robberies and burglaries on Google Maps for the benefit (primarily) of Wandswoth residents. He had been regularly given the information I assume from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in his official capacity as part of the Wandsworth Community Safety Partnership.

James Cousins obviously thought that the information he was being given was far more useful than the official MPS website and something which he should share. By producing point data maps with details of the crime for the public he was, out of ignorance or through bravadory going against MPS policy and current Data Commissioner's advice regarding privacy. But he managed to do it for 18 months without problem or complaint from those supposedly affected. He has only had to stop because someone in Harrow Council did not like what he was doing. The reasons given were privacy, raising the fear of crime and giving criminals information that they might fine useful.

James Cousins like a batman given out wrongly in cricket has walked back to the pavillion without a hint of dissent. I hope the history of crime mapping for the public will remember his exploits.

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