Police urged to improve comms to win back trust

The police's methods of communicating with local communities have come under attack in a rev­iew of policing.

Chief inspector of constabulary Sir Ronnie Flanagan's report calls for ‘greater improvement around information provision'.

It states that while crime has gone down, public confidence in the police has only marginally improved - the confidence rating for 2006-07 was 51 per cent, just one per cent more than the previous year.

Flanagan says that the current information provided by police forces ‘does not provide what people actually want', and should include anecdotal information such as the closure of crack houses and new services.

The report, published last week, continues: ‘If engagement is to be effective and people are to participate eff­ectively in shaping pri­orities and delivery, there needs to be a range of info­rmation provided on opp­ortunities to engage, and on the delivery of ser­vices that local people have said are important to them.'

Surrey Police head of corporate comms Sarah McGregor said: ‘I totally agree that there is a real benefit in providing information by a range of methods at a neighbourhood level, detailing what the issues are and more importantly what action is being taken.

‘In order to do this effectively, there needs to be a significant investment in comms and I would encourage professional communic-ators to use this report to help them argue the case.'

Research recently ann­ounced by Ipsos Mori demonstrated that if people are better informed about what the police are doing to tackle problems, they will have more confidence in the org­anisation.

Flanagan has been chief constable of both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and was accused of ‘flawed judgment' over the Omagh bomb inquiry.

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