Accenture: UK citizens want more digital police tools

18 December 2014 3 min. read

Three out of four UK citizens feel that the police should expand its use of digital tools as this would improve its services, concludes a UK-analysis by Accenture of its global digital police solutions survey. Especially the use of mobile devices and apps is preferred in the fight against crime. The research, however, also shows that a big gap exists between the expectations of UK citizens and the actual use of digital tools by the police, which is significantly lower.

Management consulting firm Accenture recently released its ‘2014 Global Citizen Pulse Survey on Policing’, that focussed on the question “How can digital police solutions better serve citizens’ expectations?” This research, based on 4,000 respondents from eight countries*, shows that digital tools for the police are becoming more and more appreciated. The vast majority of citizens (82%) believe that digital tools would improve police services and an even higher number of 88% feel that digital technologies help beat crime.

Digital tools for the police

Almost 8 out of 10 respondents say they would prefer digital interaction in addition to or even instead of face to face interaction with the police. 68% of citizens say they would like a greater use of mobile apps for communicating with the police forces and 74% say they would use a special app created by the police. The use of social media is also becoming more and more mainstream, with 72% of respondents saying to be more willing to use social media when dealing with the police than a year ago.

Citizens are open to digital police solutions

Accenture’s research shows that three-quarters of UK citizens (75%) believe that expanded use of digital tools would improve police services, including investigating crime and catching criminals (88%), preventing crime (77%) and increasing overall police effectiveness (85%), and as such expect the police to make use of digital technologies.

Use digital tools UK police

UK citizens are specifically with comfortable with police officers using mobile devices, as 94% say they are okay with this followed by predictive technologies (90%) and security cameras 89%). In addition, UK citizens seem to be comfortable with the police using wearables, such as body-worn cameras (87%).

Advanced digital police tools

Despite a strong willingness by UK citizens to interact with the police via digital channels, the survey also found that the expectation of UK citizens, 76% say the police should interact via digital tools with the public, far exceed the actual level of digital services (38%) currently provided by the UK police. “This survey shows that citizens believe that digital tools – such as mobile devices and wearable cameras – together with predictive analytics-based technologies can have a positive impact on crime by helping identify where crime might occur and how best to deploy police. It also shows that nearly all citizens want to actively help police prevent, detect and fight crime, but a gap exists between what digital tools citizens expect police to use, and what police actually use,” comments James Slessor, Managing Director Global Public Safety at Accenture.

A recent research released by PA Consulting reveals that in the digital space, police officers lack the skills and tools to optimally perform their job. The consultants highlight that skills improvement and modern tools will be key in the fight against digital criminals.

* The respondents came from Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US.