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
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
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