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Police's new stats website frustrates users

Thursday 1 Dec 2016 10:09 a.m.

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Police are keen to hear from people struggling to use their new statistics website.

The policedata.nz site went live on Wednesday, but has been criticised as slow, confusing and incompatible with modern devices.

The site crashed for a time soon after it launched, and pages can take more than a minute to load - even when they're mostly just text - testing by Newshub has confirmed.

Because the site runs on Flash it doesn't work on some browsers, nor most phones or tablets (Flash has long been a cyber-security nightmare, and has largely been replaced by the newer web language HTML5). Instead, users on Android and iOS have to download an app, which the site doesn't provide or link to.

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"We'll take the feedback," Mark Evans, police deputy chief of executive strategy, told Paul Henry on Thursday.

He said the site was designed to be used by "people who are savvy with social media and want to access information in new ways", but there is help available.

"First of all there's a range of online help available for people. Secondly, on the website there's a YouTube video clip that shows you how to get access to some of the data.

"But look, we'll look to continue to improve the accessibility to the site, and if people have got ideas how to make it more user-friendly, we'll certainly be interested to listen to that feedback."

The site is meant to help the public know more about crime in their area, using data previously available through the Statistics NZ site, but not presented together like it is on policedata.nz - in charts, graphs and tables.

"Some of those talk about, in an anonymised way, victims and offenders of crime, but also people can look at where crimes have occurred in their localities," says Mr Evans.

He says police are not worried that making the data easier to access could stigmatise regions with higher crime rates.

"The fact of the matter is crime does occur disproportionately around the country.

"We think by putting this information out there that people can understand how to then go about dealing with those problems in a very joined-up way with the police."

The site can be found at policedata.nz. Suggestions can be sent to data@police.govt.nz.

Newshub.

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