Citizens want to help local police via social media and smartphone apps

“Online interaction would better connect citizens and local police”

James Slessor, Accenture’s policing practice lead in the UK, has written about a survey recently commissioned by Accenture which shows that three-quarters of UK citizens want to help their local police force through social media and apps on their smartphones.

“Police forces should take steps to embrace this strong public desire to interact online… citizens should be allowed to upload photographs or details of stolen property for inclusion in case files, and to check online progress of an investigation in which they are involved.  These online activities would better connect citizens and local police,” says Slessor.

Moreover, it would have the added advantage of allowing “more police to remain on the front line fighting crime and lessen the heavy administrative burden of crime recording.”

1,300 people from 6 countries completed the survey. Below are some UK-specific stats:

  • 87%of UK respondents feel only minimally informed of local police activities
  • 75% want to see police use digital channels more to communicate such as websites and portals, mobile applications, and social media networks.
  • Less than a fifth were aware that police are already using some digital channels
  • 69% identified social media as an effective tool
  • 13%said their local police force was currently using social media as a communications channel.
  • 41% said social media interaction could help prevent crime
  • 85% said they would use Facebook to interact with the police; 39% said Twitter
  • 21% believe police should make greater use of smartphone and mobile applications to communicate with citizens.
  • 58% said they would like to see an increase in dedicated police websites and portals to engage with the community.

Related reading