HOME Office minister Vernon Coker hopes new crime maps will “empower” communities and help make the police more accountable to the public.

He was speaking as the Government announced that internet maps showing offences committed in every neighbourhood had now been published across Wales and England.

All 43 forces are publishing the information, which shows levels of burglary, car crime, robbery and other offences.

But North Wales Police, which unveiled its system before Christmas, admitted its internet crime map was down for a time yesterday. A message on the website told readers the service was temporarily unavailable due to technical maintenance.

But earlier the site showed that in Rhyl West the crime rate was “high” compared to North Wales generally and had increased by 15.8% over the year, with almost 16 burglaries a month, up 147%.

In Wrexham county, crime was up 7.2% with more than 900 offences recorded each month, about 100 burglaries, and 214 crimes of violence.

Meanwhile in Holyhead town, the maps showed crime up by 18%, averaging 35 a month and classed as “high”. The colour-coded charts show how areas compare with the average.

Mr Coker said: “This gives comprehensive knowledge about crime patterns and hotspots to communities.

“By empowering people with this information they are able to engage more with their neighbourhood policing teams.

“As a result, crime mapping can help ensure people’s voices are heard when police set crime fighting priorities.”

Deputy Chief Constable Clive Wolfendale said: “Crime maps are another means by which people can tune in to policing issues in their locality.”

The announcement marks completion of a pledge made by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith this summer.

But shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said the maps were a “feeble imitation” of a Tory policy.

The Conservatives would require police to publish local crime statistics every month on their websites, and to hold quarterly meetings in every neighbourhood.

He said: “These crime maps represent a feeble imitation of our policy and show that Labour are incapable of making the police accountable to the communities they serve.”

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “Crime maps should include local detection rates so we can give praise or criticism where it is due.”