A NEW website allows people to check how safe their area is and make their own personalised crime maps. 

The "Draw Your Own Area" tool on www.police.uk has been launched to mark the two-year anniversary of the site. 

It will allow people to check how safe their estate, village or town is as well as checking the route to school or work. 

Visitors can now circle a specific area on a map that they want information for instead of just typing in a postcode. 

For instance, drawing a small circle around the Gazette offices in Orsett Road, Grays, shows there was one violent crime in December 2012 - which is the most recent month there are statistics for. 

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, welcomed the new feature.

He said: “Police.uk is a great resource. It has proved very popular with users locally and across the country, with hundreds of millions of hits since its launch. These new features mean local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock will have even more information at their fingertips about crime in our area.

"It means we can all hold the police and our Police and Crime Commissioner to account to ensure we keep driving crime down.”

Damian Green, Conservative Police and Criminal Justice Minister, added: “Crime maps have been a phenomenal success with over 548 million hits on Police.uk since its launch two years ago. There is a huge appetite for transparency and information across the Criminal Justice System and we are responding by enhancing the information provided on Police.uk.”