London’s online police station
The new website of the London Metropolitan Police is designed to work as a digital police station. It allows members of the public to use police services whenever and wherever they like. They can report crimes and incidents, apply for permits or find relevant crime prevention advice about their local area. Londoners can also take an active role in keeping London safe by submitting their concerns openly on the site or by connecting with their local police team on Twitter. It is a single central hub for services and information, strengthening the relationship between the public and the Met.
The new Met website is a positive example of the successful digitisation of public services. The digital police station provides Londoners with fast access to important services and, more importantly, encourages individual engagement and facilitates open exchange between the city inhabitants and their local police force. This strengthens participation whilst increasing transparency on matters of security, and as such the project demonstrates how digital technologies can contribute to the empowerment of society. Moreover, the burden on vital public resources and the emergency services is relieved thanks to the prioritising and structuring of innumerable inquiries and vast quantities of data. In the opinion of the jury, the central roles played by holistic design methods and iterative development processes, as well as the ongoing involvement of a broad range of users and stakeholders, are crucial to the overall success of the project.
The UX challenge was huge: risky and highly sensitive issues, delivery to the masses, the biggest police force in the UK. With a large range of services, the Met website was divided into agile sprints and was lead by the public. A range of methods were used: interviews to dissect the public’s relationship with the Met, co-creation and usability testing of online features, accessibility testing and live qualitative feedback on the initial beta launch. 300+ members of the public and hundreds of officers and experts have contributed to creating the site that exists today.