Police need to go digital to improve communication with citizens

UK citizens believe digital communications technology such as social media would help police connect with the population and put them in a stronger position to fight crime

UK citizens think the police should use digital communications technology such as social media to better connect with the population, claiming it would put them in a stronger position to fight crime.

In the research carried out by Accenture, 1,300 people across Europe shared their views on the use of digital communications by police.

In the UK, 69% of respondents said social media could be a good way of reporting crime, but only 13% said their local police currently used social media and 19% used digital communications channels.

Two-way communication between citizens and police was called for by 92% of UK respondents, while 88% said digital and social technologies should be used more for reporting crime. Almost half (46%) of the UK respondents said the use of social media by police could improve police services and 41% said it could prevent crime.

Despite the calls for police to adopt new methods of communication, 72% of UK respondents said they would prefer to report a crime over the phone or in person.

Tim Godwin, former deputy commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, said police should continue to adopt new tools to support two-way communication with citizens. 

“By increasing the number of channels by which police communicate, they will gain valuable intelligence that can help prevent crime and secure prosecutions,” he said.

Godwin joined Accenture's public safety practice in a global role in January.

Read more on Social media technology