MyPolice one year on…

January 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

One year ago on the 17th of January 2011, our partnership with Tayside and their social media pilot was featured on STV news.
We’ve been noticeably quiet since the pilot finished in April so we wanted to give our followers an update!

When we started in 2009 MyPolice was a foreign concept and social media was an alien phrase in the majority of the police world. Lauren spent one year travelling the country and meeting most of the fifty two forces to really understand what engaging with communities online meant for them. This was when we realised we had something pretty massive to contribute to this space but perhaps the police forces weren’t quite ready for it yet. However, we battled on and spent a long time talking about the product and the service delivery round about it – most importantly how does a tool like MyPolice add value to a police force’s communication toolkit?

We learned a lot from our pilot. Here is a snap shot of some of the statistics.

What we have been doing;

Twos year on, the landscape of police on the web has totally transformed. We have a new government, a single police force planned for Scotland and the rise of riots. We have new reasons why MyPolice is important and we have new constraints and structures to work within.

Firstly, despite the pilot officially finishing in April the pilot continued into the summer, and we kept a close eye on our analytics and feedback.  We worked closely with Tayside to respond quickly to any errors in the software, understand how the site was being used and take note of pressure points with the service, making amendments as we went. We were proud to be credited by the force with being incredibly responsive and a great team to work with, we pride ourselves with good customer service.

Feedback from the officers who used the platform was beyond our highest expectations. None of the officers had used any social media channel before and at the end of the pilot .  Community officers talked openly and honestly about their experiences and told us they felt much more confident and closer to their community. The most important thing for them was the fact there was always someone from MyPolice at the other end of a phone.

Service is a key word in our learnings.  We learned fast that MyPolice isn’t all about the product,  In fact, what we are delivering is a service, and we’ve been hard at work developing our blueprint based on what we learned by working with Tayside. We are pretty excited about this learning because service is what we do best, it’s all been taken on board for future developments.

We have had no funding for marketing or PR and we still get stories today.  Especially within Tayside, and for the minimum marketing we did (mostly on foot in rural locations) you can still see our branding in place and converting into website hits and content.

This was a huge learning: marketing and user retention. How can we spread MyPolice across the country to get uptake and make sure people come back to the site?  We’ve been working hard on features online that extend into the offline world to make sure we achieve this.  We’ll be discussing these over the coming months.

Which leads us to great news.  We’re in development of version 2. The interface is easier to use and more intuitive both in terms of navigating the site and leaving feedback to the relevant officer, police station or at street level as well as more generally the force.

We read a great tweet from leancamp via @amandagore.

“If you’re not embarrassed of your first version, you aren’t getting things out quick enough”

We want to move faster now and believe us, MyPolice HQ could have stayed indoors developing a product for 5 years to make it everything we could imagine but we had to consider what the product must do, it’s core features, and how people responded to our question ‘Tell us your story’.  This was our prototype phase.

We’ve been working on how to break this loaded question down to help users and police understand the nature of feedback and an experience within a community/crime context.

Evaluating the prototype

Tayside acknowledged they had given us a difficult job by choosing rural areas to pilot in.  We spent time on the ground marketing and talking face to face with the public and local communities and have integrated this approach into our plan on how to mobilise communities.

We ran a survey after the pilot and this is what we discovered:

  • Email is most effective way of delivering local information on the police and updates from MyPolice.  Never underestimate the power of the newsletter in someone’s inbox.
  • Most users would prefer to find out how police are performing and responding to feedback through either ; a) A personalised email b) Checking on their website or MyPolice

We were discouraged to use Facebook as a medium, and twitter (backed up through our face to face feedback in the pilot zone) was relatively underused/not considered to be a good channel to deliver police feedback on.  Although we didn’t get a large demographic of under 24s responding to our survey but have been making headway with organisations to run some focus groups on our concepts for developing a mobile MyPolice app and Facebook application.

We found out that:

  • People viewed improving access and personalisation about news/crime in your local area was a priority and in response to this, we are working on some features to deliver personalised information to users that MyPolice generates, local to them.
  • Other priorities included;
  • Improvement on their understanding and knowledge of the people the police serve locally
  • Improvement on  how they keep you updated on developments and outcomes of crimes you report
  • Improvement on their presence and become more human in the information they present
  • Improvement on their feedback loops and two way communication
  • Our top wants from our users which we have designed into the new version are;
  • See if action has been taken by the police
  • You can submit an issue in your community
  • Local community news on crime and justice

We know what could be better with the website now, and we know what kind of service we want to offer.  Thank you again to everyone who responded to our feedback surveys and sent in their thoughts on the product/attended a feedback session.

Lessons learned

Overall our biggest lesson was about implementation/timing.  We need data to make the service work the best it can be for the user.  We need to launch the product with sessions on how to use it with the police.  We need to mobilise a community to know it exists and find a way in which they can use it.  We need to work closely with the communication department.  All this takes time. However, we have learned how to make this process shorter and more efficient and have now streamlined our rollouts within forces to be faster, more efficient and provide a supportive service for the police.

As a bottom line, the intention right from the start, and the mission, is to close the feedback loop between the public and the police.  We have achieved this and a result featured in the BBC , a personal letter from the Chief Constable of Tayside and a personal letter from Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond – this was more than we could have expected from our first pilot.

Whilst maintaining our independence as a platform, we want to work with the police to support them when receiving feedback, how best to respond, and then importantly, how to make service improvements/take necessary actions to change a situation. We didn’t ever want to form an ‘anarchy’ site where people can feedback and leave comment but the police are not geared up to respond. We believe in working with both the public and the police.

So that is where we stand.  In the coming months we will be refining the product, testing it with the public and rolling it out to forces across the country.

We’re going to be looking for someone to join the MyPolice team shortly to manage the project’s implementation, and engage with interested parties.  We are working on the job description to make sure we get exactly the person we’re looking for, but if you are interested, you can get in touch with us with the contact details below.

We will be bringing more updates as 2012 develops but do get in touch with us on hello (at ) mypolice ( dot ) org if you have any thoughts on collaboration or working with us.


MyPolice Team

Successful pilot comes to an end

May 16th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

We are writing to announce the end of our pilot with Tayside Police. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved! Our team are now evaluating what we have learned, the successes and the next steps.

MyPolice impacts on service delivery

MyPolice impacts on service delivery

We are also designing the next iteration of our software and in talks with various developers from different fields. We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback from both the public and Tayside and very happy such a short pilot resulted in impact and service change. We have made national news, our pilot was broadcast on television and we have met many local people who believe in our product. We have proved our product and works for the public and the police.

MyPolice featured on STV News at 6

MyPolice featured on STV News at 6

In the meantime, we are still collecting stories and MyPolice is functioning as normal. We have a long list of forces who want to be part of the next phase…please get in touch if you would like your force to be part of MyPolice.

The champions of this pilot have been YOU – the communities, the public and neighbours who have used MyPolice to have their voice heard.

Watch this space!

The Pilot: The Half Way Point

February 24th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

This week we had a check point meeting with all the key stakeholders from the Tayside Police Pilot. It was a great chance for our team to hear the experiences of the officers and learn what they are hearing on the ground from the public.

The officers joined twitter at the same time as MyPolice so they shared their feedback on both tools. The officers have realised there are very few members of the public on twitter, the only people who follow them are journalists and other police organisations. It seems the format of twitter doesn’t naturally fit the way policing works.

Local marketing material

Local marketing material

The team enjoy logging onto MyPolice in the morning and having relevant, personal stories to respond to…

“It takes no time at all and seems to have a good impact”

Some of the team had never used twitter or facebook before the pilot so they are on a big learning curve regarding how to translate the way they normally communicate into text on digital platforms. The character limit on twitter cropped up time and time again and we are glad we addressed this at the very start of designing how the police respond – there is no limit – they have space to say what they want to say, how they want to say it.

Our thoughts are now very focused on evaluation; exploring how it works for citizens and police alike. We talked about the scalability of the approach we used to train the officers on how our product works. We were delighted to hear the enthusiasm of the officers around training new staff to use MyPolice themselves!

Our team were commended for our days spent on the ground with our clip boards – it seems this very local approach has worked very well in terms of letting the citizens of the rural villages know that MyPolice is there and what it can do for them. The officers hand out business cards sporting the MyPolice web address, that ask ‘how was my policing?’ they have found this very easy and find the concept of MyPolice simple to explain to their communities.

Working in this way with the police has been great,

We haven’t yet built in all the functions that we could have, but we’re learning as a team what is valuable and what is not and building MyPolice iteratively to meet the needs of both the public and the police.

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