Effective Engagement 1


I don’t believe that the police really want to engage with the public.

It is encouraging to see you all here reading this, but as a service we want to pay lip service to engagement, rather than use it to influence policing, and ultimately to reduce crime.

There is a massive resource out there that we regularly fail to engage with, often even when they want to engage with us. Its called the public.

Tweet from BrumPolice

The tweet above is a response to one from Jon Hickman, reporting an issue with porn magazines being flyered on cars in his street to his local police force. He felt so strongly about the response he initially got, that he created a detailed blog about it, complaining that the police didn’t seem interested.

He asked “Isn’t that [public passing titbits of information] what community policing is supposed to be about?”

(On a positive note the subsequent tweets from local neighbourhood team members were much more positive…but first impressions count).

How does your organisation deal with information, queries and intelligence from unusual sources? Are you welcoming or bureaucratic in your response?

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6 Responses to Effective Engagement 1

  1. One way of engaging with more members of the public in the current financial climate is to add an online approach to consultation. I recently evaluated a successful pilot which used online surveys to get people’s views on policing priorities at a Safer Neighbourhood Team level. It is now being rolled out across a number of police services.
    For more information: http://www.russellwebster.com/Blog/?p=170

  2. Thanks for the useful reply – a few forces have looked at online surveys. I think they are an excellent way of getting past the ‘usual suspects’ issue – only a few people who are often not representative of the community being the ones who are consulted.
    What is needed is for this approach to be taken up more widely across the country.

  3. David White says:

    Hi Justin. I share your concerns about the way the police use social media. I find that the problem stems from the core systems in place with which officers are expected to log intelligence, crime and other related information. These systems reflect a style of policing from at least 30 years ago in the days when it was considered the job of the police and not the public to solve crimes. In fact, it was seen as an admission of failure if the police turned to the public for assistance. These days, social media encourages everyone to play their part but the ‘back end’ systems can’t cope efficiently enough. We need a bottom-up review of how these systems work and change them to fully involve the partners and the public wherever possible. It isn’t good enough to just keep bolting on new bits to an old policing model. It is just like trying to fit air conditioning, catalytic converter and parking sensors to a 1971 Austin Princess!

  4. Great reply David – I may well return to some of the themes you raise later in this series. I suspect that the willingness to ask for help is different for different parts of the force, and different generations.

    The technological fixes for the ‘back end’ systems may be more difficult to address, although I think this is an area where the private sector will offer value – look at how companies such as Tesco use their data for driving up sales and providing customer service.

  5. Pingback: Effective Engagement 1 | Policing news | Scoop.it

  6. Pingback: Effective Engagement 3 – Stop making decisions | Partridgej's Blog

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