Force to invest in smarter communication with public

Hampshire Constabulary is to invest in developing smarter ways of contacting the force and accessing police services.

Oct 27, 2011
By Paul Jacques
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Hampshire Constabulary is to invest in developing smarter ways of contacting the force and accessing police services.

This follows an in-depth review conducted by the constabulary into the way front office services are used by the public and forms part of a broader range of changes to the way members of the public will be able to interact with the force in the future.

Most of those surveyed said they would call or email to report a crime or make an inquiry.

Officers will continue to keep victims of crime updated on the progress of investigations, but by 2012 people will also be able to report crime online and track the progress of the investigation when and where it suits them without having to contact the investigating officer. The new CrimeReports website already allows residents to get the full picture of what is happening where they live, including meetings with their local officers.

Hampshire Constabulary said it remains committed to retaining front offices at police stations, but at fewer locations.

The restructuring of the front counter services forms part of the constabulary’s efforts to make savings of between £40 million and £50 million by 2015. By reducing the number of front offices, the force says it can achieve some of the savings it has to make as a result of the reduced budget.

Assistant Chief Constable Laura Nicholson said: “This time of change for Hampshire Constabulary presents a significant opportunity for the force to really focus on what is important to residents, by taking a look at what we

do and why we do it. We believe that we will emerge from this period of transition as a stronger force, focused on what really matters to the public.

“The consultation with the public on how they wish to interact with us has shown a clear shift towards online self-service options as well as interaction with officers in the community, so this is where we will focus our resources in the future.

“However, we know that front offices still have an important part to play in providing access to our services, therefore we remain committed to having at least one front office in each district to meet public demand.””

From April 2012, there will be one front office per police district across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, with an additional site in areas where demand is high or where the geography of the district strongly supports an additional site. Most sites will be open a minimum of eight hours per day, seven days a week.

As Hampshire Police Authority will be selling some of the buildings occupied by the constabulary, safer neighbourhoods teams (SNTs) will move to offices based at the heart of the communities they serve that are accessible to the public, such as council offices, libraries or local supermarkets.

For most traditional front office services not provided by SNTs, the public can phone 101 to report a crime or get an update, access help and advice, leave a message or schedule a meeting with an officer.

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