Accenture survey shows citizens want more police outreach

A new citizen survey released by Accenture shows that a majority of citizens want police forces to use more digital channels to communicate to the public. Six countries were surveyed, and 84% of respondents felt as though they were only minimally informed of police activity in their area. Data shows a strong preference for both additional information and additional access to information.

Individuals also feel as though they have a strong role to play in reporting crime and are eager to support their local police force – 88% of respondents said they want to help out. This number is notable as many cities have had high profile and mostly tense relationships with their police forces. 72 percent of respondents believe social media in particular can be an effective tool to allow citizens report crime, generate suspect leads and support police investigations.

The survey was released by Accenture at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Citizens from Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom – believe digital communication channels, including social media, can play a significant role in bridging the communication gap. Almost three-fourths (71%) of those surveyed say police use of digital channels can help overcome the communication gap, but only 20 percent believe their local police use digital channels.

The U.S. had the highest rate of respondents who felt “well informed” of local police activities (21%). While more than half of respondents want to have a community police force contact. Respondents also want to see police use more mobile forms of communication including smartphone and text applications.

As CivSource has reported, law enforcement is adopting new technology, although mostly in the area if predictive analytics for crime prevention and emergency response. Community outreach initiatives remain more or less on the back burner.