Police chiefs to explore ‘single online home’ to standardise all forces’ interactions with public

NPCC kicks off discovery process for a potential national portal for reporting incidents and managing police interactions across all 43 forces

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The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is to explore the creation of a “single online home… to offer the public a consistent way of engaging with their local force and accessing police services online”.

Such a platform would allow all of the 43 forces across England and Wales to standardise their online shopfront, including “the first stage of contact across a range of scenarios” in which the public might need to contact the police. 

The NPCC’s Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP) is looking to undertake a six-month discovery exercise examining how such a service could work. The project ultimately aims to help address the fact that “it is difficult for people to interact digitally with the police, it is difficult for the public to get police updates, [and] it is hard to develop a relationship with the police, due to the different ways different types of interactions are handled”.

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The NPCC envisages that the “single online home” could offer users basic incident reporting, transactional services, personalised content – including an individual history of police interactions – and also a means of contacting the police anonymously. For officers, the platform should provide a means to develop relationships with the public and communicate with citizens, as well as tools for monitoring the progress of ongoing interactions.

A budget of about £300,000 has been set aside for the discovery exercise, and a supplier is being sought to help deliver the six-month project, in conjunction with an internal team. Bids are open until 24 September, with work due to begin on 12 November.

The contract notice, issued by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex on behalf of the NPCC DPP, said that the discovery process will look at what can be delivered at both a national and local level.

“[Single online home] will only provide one-time transactional services for the first stage of contact across a range of scenarios, when most of these require follow-up as the end-to-end service is interactional,” the notice said. “The discovery exercise will therefore ascertain user requirements and options for a national police portal, but also test the hypothesis that engagement can and should be managed online and will increase confidence, satisfaction and take-up.”

Sam Trendall

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