Emergency services across the UK use census statistics to allocate resources and plan services based on the local area’s characteristics. The census tells us how many people live where, the types of people they are (young, old, married, single) and their characteristics. Emergency services rely on these census characteristics to identify local areas requiring extra focus, e.g. areas with a higher population of elderly residents. Examples include:

Fire Brigade

Fire brigades across the UK, such as the London Fire Service, use census statistics to allocate resources (appliances/personnel/fire engines) and plan home fire safety visits. Having the correct number of resources to respond to fires in the shortest time, and making visits in areas of high risk, can save lives. General safety advice is given to households, and smoke alarms are installed where required, based on an area’s characteristics.


The Metropolitan Police use census statistics to know where to concentrate their crime prevention efforts. Potential crime hotspots are mapped. For example in Bromley, age and housing statistics showed where pockets of people over 65 years old live. Elderly residents were experiencing a high number of Burglary by Artifice (burglars tricking homeowners into letting them in by claiming they are from water/electric companies). Crime prevention efforts have now reduced these incidents.