MyPolice visit the HMICS

May 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

This morning we visited the HMICS team in Edinburgh. They are very keen to explore how MyPolice can add value to the work they do around inspecting policing. This gets particularly relevant when considering their ‘Duty of user focus’- involving the public in inspection, including how they do it and what they inspect.

Clearly there are questions around the role of the HMICS in relation to MyPolice. For instance should the HMICS use MyPolice to directly engage with the public or should the HMICS encourage forces to use MyPolice to engage?

We see big opportunities for this collaboration. We have visualised one idea in the image below….

The HMICS want to involve the public in their inspections

The HMICS want to involve the public in their inspections

Other avenues to we intend to explore are the HMICS:

// adopting social media as a communication tool
// using MyPolice as a recovery tool when their findings have a negative impact
// influencing their inspection process around how individual forces perform
// gaining feedback on all their publications

The team admit they struggle to get feedback on their reports and the reality that…

“It’s very difficult to quantify public perception beyond the people who turn up to community meetings every week”

The team are interested in finding out how often the public feedback and when. They are currently based on the Scottish Government website that is of course has a very official presence and a corporate brand. We had an interesting discussion around the analysis of the data MyPolice collects at both a strategic and tactical level. Perhaps we can learn from the National Intelligence Model and look at  strategic ways of analysing information and bringing partners in to analyse it together. We are excited about continuing this conversation and echo the opinion of an HMICS team member …

“MyPolice could add value to everything the HMICS does”

Police battle networking sites to break bad news

April 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Police tasked with telling families about a loved one’s death claim social networking is turning the sensitive job into a race against time.

A senior member of Lothian and Borders Police said details of a fatal stabbing witnessed by members of the public had been posted online within ten minutes. He added: ‘His family learned he was dead about one minute later when they got a call from someone who had seen it on Facebook. By the time we managed to get officers to their home to break the tragic news, they already knew. It is now a matter of routine to make these visits as quickly as we possibly can, often without the detailed preparation we would once have made, because it is by no means uncommon for the news to have reached victims’ families long before we do.’

Trained officers must now break the news before it is spread through social networks.

Trained officers must now break the news before it is spread through social networks.

In another case, detailed pictures of forensic officers working at the site where a body had been found were shared on the internet. The source said: ‘People tweet what they had for breakfast, they put their daily routine on Facebook in the sort of minute detail that leaves people like me wondering who would care. Ten years ago, if these people witnessed a murder, they’d have called the police. Now they seem to reach for the iPhone and put the news straight on Facebook.”

We think there has to be more questions asked around why the public reach for their iPhone rather than calling the police. We believe MyPolice is a brilliant tool for tackling this challenge and being the bridge between what people actually do and what the police want people to do.

How to turn Public Sector Complaints into Service Improvements

April 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

We are delighted to announce we will be presenting at “How to turn Public Sector Complaints into Service Improvements “in Edinburgh on Friday 17th June.

The tone of the conference is challenging high level strategic thinking on a level of principle not practice. The intention is to give insight into practical and workable measures which help practitioners turn the learning from complaints into service improvements.  With the help of more than 150 UK public sector complaints and customer service  practitioners, the conference team have developed seven “thorny”questions where a forthright discussion will be of benefit; such as,mobilising front-line staff, being more customer-focused and rethinking your organisation’s approach and culture.

Each of these questions will be reasoned by an expert in the field for about 20 minutes before being put to a panel of expert practitioners for a ten
minute reaction. I will be giving a short 20 minute talk at 1400 on: “To what extent can proactive communication reduce complaints? How can customer feedback and dynamic use of social media help to inform organisational change and improve the customer experience”.

The increasing use of social media by the police

March 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Lauren Archell, a journalist from Bournemouth University has released the results of her recent exploration into police and social media:

“You may expect to see a status update on Facebook or Twitter from your friends and family but what about your local police officer? This could soon be the norm, as police services throughout the U.K begin to embrace social media and new technologies in a bid to increase engagement with a different section of the public. But with the release of the Winsor Report and talks of cutbacks of millions of pounds, could social media also provide a cost effective method of interaction?”

Lauren’s work includes an interview with DCC Gordon Scobbie telling “The Tayside Story” and a feature on the future of social media focusing on MyPolice and Balance Your Bobbies. We also hear insights from the tweeters Nick Keane and Christine Smith. Also, Lauren has put together a valuable interactive map of what forces are online in the UK.

Police who tweet

Police who tweet

Last but not least, there is a chance for readers to comment and answer the questions

1.Do you think that funding and resources should be given to help to increase the use of social media within the police service?

2.Do you think the police should embrace social media and technology to engage with the public?

No prizes for guessing what MyPolice think the answers we’ll leave it up to you…

MyPolice is hiring!

March 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

MyPolice is the winning idea from Scotland’s first Social Innovation Camp. It is an online feedback tool that enables the public and the police to have a conversation. Our product is currently being piloted by Tayside Police. We are based in offices in Glasgow centre. You can learn more about us here :

Work with MyPolice

Work with MyPolice

Job description

  • Ability to develop web application, backend and frontend using Ruby On Rails
  • Ability to maintain server Unix + apache + passenger
  • Ability and willingness to participate and collaborate with designers in generating concepts, prototyping, sketching, user testing, workshops, etc.
  • Live and be around Glasgow, we need you to work closely with the core team to build things quickly
  • The right developer will have the freedom to innovate around the technologies used within the project

Required skills

  • Experience with MySQL with the ability to write SQL queries
  • Minimum of two years commercial experience in any of the following object-oriented languages: Ruby, Python, Objective-C, Java, or Smalltalk
  • Experience working with the MVC design pattern
  • Experience with JavaScript (preferably with jQuery) and AJAX
  • Knowledge of  HTML, CSS and ability to cope with IE6
  • Ability to learn new languages and read and understand other people’s code


  • Experience with Ruby, Rails, jQuery,UNIX, git, haml
  • Regular reader of Stack Overflow

You will spend time with our current lead developer who will transfer all knowledge and information required to continue building our product. This is a very good opportunity to learn web application development ‘full circle’.

We’re looking for someone who will actually come in and be part of the company, and work with us to make MyPolice something great.  We need someone who lives in Scotland with experience and commitment.

We want our developer to work with us not for us, so we can look at alternative ways of building the site.

We want someone who will work well with designers to create common a understanding and language, rather than sitting at polar opposites as is so often the case.

We’re offering an immediate start. This rate of pay is 25-35K per annum. depending on skills and experience.

Interest for this opportunity closes on 11/3/11

To apply send lauren (at) a link to your portfolio, linkedin, sites you have created and we’ll go from there!

Making a difference with data

February 23rd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Yesterday saw the launch of a new project focused on spreading the understanding of open data and transparency in local public services.

‘Making a Difference with Data’ will show how information obtained from public authorities such as the police, NHS, and local councils can be used by citizens to raise issues, campaign and otherwise influence things that affect local communities. It will share knowledge about how individuals and organisations can obtain such information, and show how Government policy is encouraging greater transparency and openness by public authorities.

The project is funded by Communities and Local Government (CLG) in partnership with Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM) and is supported by the Local Public Data Panel.

We were delighted to be part of the initiative representing open data in Crime and Policing. We welcome your comments on our first article Open Data in Policing: What would you do with it?

Please spread the word about around your networks.

We want to get people talking about the project but more importantly submitting stuff – web links and case study material, and also details of events in this space.

Open data in Crime and Policing

Open data in Crime and Policing

People can also apply for places at the event on 18th March where the MyPolice team will be presenting our findings.

Hat tip to Will Perrin for introducing us to the MADWD team!

MyPolice makes service change happen!

February 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Today we are featured in the BBC “Web complaints force Perthshire parking crackdown”

“MyPolice has helped highlight this problem to us and as a result we are working together with Perth and Kinross local authority to proactively tackle the issue.” Sergeant Amanda Nicolson

MyPolice delivering results!

MyPolice delivering results!

We are building a product that works for the public and the police. The pilot is exceeding our expectations with new stories from the pilot area coming in every day, the officers are now able to engage with them in a new, innovative way. This initiative proves Tayside Police are listening to the citizens and are willing to make service changes to make positive change happen. We welcome the locals of Tayside to log in and share their thoughts and opinions on this new initiative as well as their own police experiences. Our team are very happy to see service changes happening one month into our pilot !

No such thing as a typical day

February 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

One of our piloting officers, Stuart Johnstone, shares a typical day as a Community Officer with us…

“When I started to think about a typical day on the job, it occurred to me that there is no such thing. It also occurred to me that this fact is absolutely the best thing about the job.

Since joining the Police 8 years ago I quickly learned that one day often resembles nothing of the previous or following day, indeed the same can be said from one hour to the next.

One minute I’m attending a report of a serious road accident and the next I’m sitting down with a neighbourhood group discussing the community in general and addressing their concerns over a cup of tea. Rather than be frustrated at the topsy-turvy nature of the job, you can’t help but love it. A 10 hour shift on a Saturday night may sound like a long working day but it all too often flies by in the blink of an eye and I find myself working frantically to the last minute trying to get everything done.

Talking about local issues over a cup of tea

Talking about local issues over a cup of tea

I have worked in many facets of the Police during my service and have enjoyed them all, but my most recent post as Community Police Officer for Kinross is easily one of the most rewarding to date. The face to face interaction with the community, visiting the high school and chatting to students and dealing directly with quality of life issues for residents in my area provide an enormous amount of satisfaction.

I work a mixture of early shifts and late shifts, all of which usually start with well intentioned plans for the day ahead, usually starting with checking e-mails, having a look at the incidents in my area while I’ve been off duty and responding to Twitter and MyPolice messages addressed for my attention. Often I will attend meetings for Community Councils, or meetings with partner agencies at the High School. I may be asked to give a talk to a school group, activity group or a community group. Ideally I will have time to walk in my area, talk to local businesses and chat to members of the public to find out what issues they’ve been having. I may have follow up enquiries from previous incidents to attend to or attending calls which have been left for my attention. Of course all of these things come secondary if, and when something serious happens and the well intentioned plans are put to the side and it’s all hands to the proverbial pump.

Life as a Police Officer is not without its challenges, but the return is a tremendously varied and rewarding career which I wouldn’t change for anything.”

Chief Constable at Tayside reveals how she juggles family life with pressure job

February 11th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

This week the Chief Constable of Tayside was interviewed by one of Scotland’s largest tabloids; The Daily Record. We met Justine last year and demonstrated our software to pitch a collaborative pilot with the force.

Chief Constable Justine Curran

Chief Constable Justine Curran

It is been a pleasant surprise to meet so many locals who genuinely feel the police do a great job ! Articles such as this are a fantastic way to reveal the police are human too! Justine talks in the article about being female in the policing world and we can definitely relate to that!

“Women expect too much of themselves. They are always feeling guilty, whether it’s about work or their kids. If they can just do their best, then that’s amazing!”

Justine is blowing a breath of fresh air through the force with her attitudes to women being able to combine their careers with family life. Justine was very positive about MyPolice when we first showed her our product – despite not being online herself she certainly sees the value it will bring to the force.

“The important thing is that the people of Scotland think about what they would really like to see. People understand what matters locally and what they need in their area. We need to save money but we need to get that balance right. It is not a great time for any of us but the issue is how to get the best for the people of Scotland”

“I think community policing is the jewel in our crown and I think here in Tayside we do it very well. This could be a huge opportunity if we go about it very carefully.”

Brilliant stuff.

MyPolice meet the locals take three!

February 8th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

We went from Glasgow to Kinross to Milnathort to Auchterarder and back to Glasgow. Another full, rewarding and exhausting day putting the site into action.

Local post office sporting our poster

Local post office sporting our poster

Our second impressions of this part of our pilot area? When we meet people who have never had an interaction with the police they immediately think they have nothing to say. When we explain more about MyPolice it is always the case that everyone does have things they feel strongly about in their local area but they would never bother to pick up the phone or tell the police. They don’t think their opinion is important enough.

Also, we noticed that when first ask the question about interacting with the police many people associate it with negativity and respond with things like ‘I’ve never been in trouble before’, only after further explanation do they open up to all the positive interactions they have had such as getting their bike stolen or being in a car accident when the police were there providing a good service.

It’s really clear from all the conversations we have had that if someone has had a really poor experience with the police and they don’t have a channel to feed that experience back it’s not that they don’t like the police – they just loose faith in the service.

The team on the road once again!

The team on the road once again!

The most inspiring thing about this trip was the local knowledge we uncovered. In a matter of minutes people open up and tell you real details about where trouble happens and who is causing it. It is undeniable there is sometimes a sense of reluctance from people when it comes to sharing their email address – this has really pushed our thinking around having two routes into MyPolice; one for direct feedback and one to simply say what you think.

Oh, and of the forty people we spoke to – none of them were on twitter.

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