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.

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 www.madwdata.org.uk 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.

Interview with MyPolice on Canadian Police Blog

February 7th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

We are proud to be featured on the Candanian Police Blog for Social Media this week. They have supported our team from day one and for that we are very grateful!

Interview with MyPolice

Interview with MyPolice

1- Where did your vision for My Police begin and was their any one event that motivated you towards the creation of your citizen and police engagement/feedback platform?

Sarah had the idea when her friend was burgarled. She didn’t have a terrible experience but had some feedback for the officers. In response to this request the force sent round a big burly officer who clearly had better things to do with his time. This experience made Sarah ask herself “Why can’t  you talk to the police online?”

2- What if any are the underlying principles for your platform and what do you hope to achieve? Is there a goal in mind?

The goal is to transform the way the public and the police communicate. We  care about fairness and equality and believe no one should be treated unfairly or unjustly. We care about people in their communities coming together to work with the police, rather than against them.

3- It is often cited in Criminological theory, specifically in community policing theory and policy mandates that police work must include efforts to develop strong community relations to increase crime prevention and neighborhood resilience. How do you believe social media technology, your platform will assist police in achieving this outcome?

MyPolice is another tool for police to engage with the communities they serve. MyPolice makes it easier for Police to achieve this outcome by increasing their visibility; as well as being visible when you are out on foot patrol you can now be virtually visible when you are online. We recently wrote a blog post about MyPolice and community policing

Read the rest of the interview here…

New Community Pay Back Scheme

February 4th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

A new law has come into force across Scotland which means low-level criminals can be ordered to do manual labour instead of serving time in jail. From now on, courts will be encouraged to consider imposing a Community Payback Order as an alternative to jail terms of less than three months.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“We want to see low-level offenders out paying back communities by doing some tough manual labour. Punishment should be tough and justice should be immediate which is why we are piloting this new initiative. The aim is to get these low-level offenders out doing manual work to improve communities within hours of being sentenced.

Whether it is cleaning streets of graffiti, renovating elderly care homes, restoring fallen gravestones or, as we saw during the recent severe weather conditions, helping to clear pavements of snow, these offenders should be repaying their dues to communities they have harmed”

Our team have been having a long, hard think about this new scheme and what it means for Scotland. We put the question out on twitter and all the responses were fairly positive, even if a little skeptical.

Feedback from the public

Feedback from the public

Feedback from the public

Feedback from the public

It seems there is a general feeling of being in the dark about how it works and what it really means. We think there has to be more high profile community events so we can all get up to speed on the reality of the new scheme. MyPolice is a way to highlight the community pay back service – what it is, where it is happening and why you should care.

Community service has already been re-branded as ‘un-paid work’ in England and Wales and is now being branded ‘community payback’. MyPolice will make community service more visible, and it will simplify some of the complex terms and jargon around the concept.

New MyPolice function around community pay back

New MyPolice function around community pay back

This function will enable you to see who is doing community pay back in your area and what type of work is being carried out. What do you think?

Creating people-led solutions

February 3rd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

We recently published  a story called “We could all help the Police if..” focused on parking in Tayside. This story has evolved into a brilliant example of a real conversation happening about a real issue.

We want MyPolice to signpost and broker information. Great to see links to the Pedestrian Liberation site

Conversation on MyPolice

Conversation on MyPolice

We are really excited the public are voicing their ideas about what MyPolice could be. Long may the conversation continue!

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