Weekly Web Watch: Met invites you to stop and search

The Met has had quite a time of it in recent years, and after the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the admittance by Sir Paul Condon that it showed signs of being ’institutionally racist’, its image was in tatters. So the negative press after the Home Office unveiled statistics this month showing rising crime rates, particularly for street crime, can’t have been very welcome.

The Met has had quite a time of it in recent years, and after the

Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the admittance by Sir Paul Condon that it

showed signs of being ’institutionally racist’, its image was in

tatters. So the negative press after the Home Office unveiled statistics

this month showing rising crime rates, particularly for street crime,

can’t have been very welcome.



The beleaguered force is doing its level best to bounce back, however,

and in many ways uses its comprehensive web site to good effect.



The site is fairly easy to navigate, although with the depth of

information under each section it’s reassuring to have the constant

presence of a virtual version of the famous revolving New Scotland Yard

sign to guide the user back to the home page.



The main sections cover the usual ’What’s New’ area, which includes

press releases from the Met as a whole. Oddly, none of the news pages

appeared to have been updated very recently, meaning that at the time of

going to press, there was no mention of the rising crime rate three days

after it had been picked up by the media, let alone any room for

feedback.



The BBC web site (www. bbc.co.uk) takes up the mantle which the Met

could have had for itself, by running an open forum, ’Do you feel safe

on the streets?’ - which contains much positive feedback about the

police. It also lets Crimewatch figurehead Nick Ross reassure the public

that the UK’s streets are actually a pretty safe place to be. These BBC

pages have links straight to the Home Office site and UK police

services. Neither was there any mention of the recent police

inspectorate report which found that many murder squad detectives in the

Met doubt that their work is a priority.



The Met’s site does, however, have lots of details about its regular

crime prevention campaigns, including the newest bid to flush out drug

dealers, Rat on a Rat. There is a search engine which will bring up

background information on a plethora of topics.



There are no discussion forums as such, but on the home page one of the

first available buttons is ’E-mail Us’, which allows users to comment on

the site, and there are also offers of e-mail addresses for all London

police areas.



Overall, the Met’s site takes a step in the right direction of

positively changing the perception of the force, but does not try hard

enough to address the issues in the news.



Organisation: The Metropolitan Police

Issue: Rising crime rates

At: www.met.police.uk



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