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Improve Dorset Police website to boost public accessibility

Ensuring that police are visible and accessible to the communities they serve is one of the most important issues in community policing.

Upon re-election in 2016, the PCC made a number of commitments targeted towards enhancing police visibility and accessibility, despite the challenges faced by austerity, funding cuts and a reduction in police officer and staff numbers.

One such way that this can be achieved is through the provision of a sophisticated online service – to include a modern, user-friendly website; strong use of social media; and the exploitation of new web technologies.

Shortly before his re-election, the Commissioner approved the creation of a new website for Dorset Police. The new website, which launched in autumn 2016 and replaced its decade-old predecessor, was built using a future-proofed software platform that is shared with Devon and Cornwall Police. The changes helped to reduce hosting and maintenance costs, improved security and compatibility issues, and allowed the Force to optimise content for mobile devices.

The latest stats on the Dorset Police website confirm that within the month of October 2019, there were 72,924 people that visited the website. Over 10,000 pages were visited by people seeking out help, advice and information on crime prevention and the Neighbourhood Policing pages were viewed over 8,000 times. Compared to October 2018, Dorset have had 19.33% more users who spent on average -0.39% less time on the site, however, they visited 27.99% more pages.

These improved figures help to realise the Commissioner’s ambition to better engage with Dorset’s communities and make sure that important public safety advice reaches more people than evert before.

More detail on the specific initiatives that are linked to the Dorset Police website are provided elsewhere, but users of the website will notice regular updates and enhancements – from the introduction of Ask NED, through to the inclusion of the Neighbourhood Engagement Plans that now sit on each Neighbourhood Policing Team page.

Behind the scenes, the PCC has invested heavily in technology so that the Force can continue to exploit online technologies – with the Force working on a number of ways in which information from the website can directly link with force systems. Web technology continues to move forward at an ever greater pace and the PCC will continue to work closely with the Chief Constable to explore further options for improving police performance, efficiency and outcomes for the public.

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