UK Police Officers

The importance of public education and sharing information of digital communications tools

Our national survey helped to understand more about the public’s experience when engaging with their local police forces. It highlights the importance of public education and sharing information around newer digital communications tools for reporting incidents and managing enquiries.

23 August 2022

We have launched the results of a national survey designed to understand more about the public’s experience when engaging with their local police forces. The results highlight the importance of public education and sharing information around newer digital communications tools for reporting incidents and managing enquiries. The report provides recommendations to forces on increasing engagement across digital platforms.

The survey explored public awareness and understanding of digital solutions that could be used to improve local forces’ public contact management, aiming to understand public perceptions and the behaviours driving engagement with these new channels. BMT designed and commissioned a survey of 1500 members of the public, asking a series of questions exploring how comfortable they felt in using unique, more digitally focused reporting methods when wanting services from the police.

Participants were asked a series of questions testing their understanding of emergency and non-emergency reporting systems and new ways of contacting the police, such as web chat, online forms and messaging over social media. The results show that whilst more than half of respondents were keen to use digital reporting tools, they were uncertain whether their issue would reach the appropriate authority if reported through online channels. The survey also highlighted that over 70% of respondents would like further information about the available media when reporting incidents and monitoring progress.

Christian Ellis, Justice and Security Business Unit Lead at BMT, commented:

‘The demand on the traditional 999 and 101 telephony channels continues to be a considerable obstacle to implementing an effective, multi-channel contact management strategy for local forces. In our day to day lives we are moving away from traditional ways of engaging with our service providers as people continue to find new, more effective and increasingly digitally focused means of communication. What our survey has highlighted is the need for the public to understand which services are available and when to use which platform so that they get the best possible service from their local police forces.
‘In conducting this survey, we were pleased to be able to offer recommendations to support local forces in ensuring the hard work they have invested in broadening their communications channels and offering different ways for people to engage with them will achieve the best possible results.’

Our highlights report provides a series of recommendations. We can help local forces raise awareness of digital channels, create attractive alternatives to traditional telephony and shift to digital tools and services.

Get the highlights report by clicking on the button below.

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