Forces improve online services to the public
Surrey Police and Sussex Police are to work together to improve public-facing online services across the two force areas, including applications for reporting crimes and incidents.
The two forces have been awarded two years funding, worth over £300,000, from the Governments precursor fund of £20 million that was made available to police and crime commissioners (PCCs) ahead of the first full year of operation of its Police Innovation Fund that will be worth up to £50 million a year from 2014/15.
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne said the innovative approach to working together would provide improved services to the public and represent value for money.
Working together will mean these applications can be rolled out to the public much more quickly and they will also be hosted on a national online platform enabling them to be adopted in other force areas, she said.
At a time when we are being asked to find significant savings in the police budget, this funding will help us to find more efficient and effective ways of working that deliver financial savings for the future.
Detective Superintendent David Leeney, who is heading the project for the Sussex and Surrey forces, said: Surrey and Sussex are already at the forefront of online policing. Both forces offer a number of digital services that enable members of the public to report online and receive information updates on crime and safety-related issues.
He said the funding would support work to design a single set of online services that can ultimately be deployed nationally for use by other forces.
The initiative will pilot a new and innovative Policy Lab approach to encourage members of the public to volunteer to influence the choice and design of these services, added Det Supt Leeney. This approach is supported by the Home Office which recognises that services will be more effective, successful and cost-efficient for government if they are thoughtfully designed by the users themselves.
The Policy Lab approach uses research at the hub of policy and user-centred design, examining how policy goals and public services can be assessed through the experience of their users.
Det Supt Leeney said this would identify best practice from the design professions that can bring value to the public sector and then directly engage with government leaders and designers in projects to improve service delivery.