Headlines: May 24th, 2002

The performance of police websites is to come under scrutiny in a new
research project from Socitm, the Society of IT Management.

Socitm represents senior ICT managers in local authorities and other
public services, and already conducts an annual test of local authority
websites to see if they meet relevant e-government and good practice

The new research will follow the same methodology and investigate how
websites are able to respond to citizens’ needs in all areas of police

They will test usability, look for joined-up government; interactive
applications; community leadership; and responsiveness to e-mail.
Accessibility for those with disabilities will also be tested thanks to
collaboration with the RNIB.

The survey will cover websites published by all of the UK’s 59 police
services, and, using the research findings, the team will classify each
website as ‘promotional’; ‘content’; ‘content plus’ or ‘transactional’.
‘Transactional’ means significantly interactive and is seen as the goal
to which all public service websites should be aspiring in order to meet
the Government’s 2005 targets for modernised, information-age

The new report will ‘provide the first snap-shot of how individual
police organisations in the UK have adapted their services to take
account of the internet and how their performance to date reflects the
modernising government agenda.

The project will be advised by Superintendent Peter Woods, of
Northumbria Police, author of Home Office supported research entitled
e-ffective, e-fficient, e-conomic, e-policing published in March 2002.
This set out the case for the police service nationally and
internationally to seize the huge opportunity offered by the internet to
deliver online police services that currently the public can only obtain
by visiting a police station or by using the telephone. An online
version of the report can be downloaded at www.e-policingreport.com.