Involve people in policing priorities

Engage more residents with your work
See how people balance spending versus tax
Find out which activities they want to prioritise

Public engagement builds consent and makes policing more effective

Policing isn't something that happens to the public but with them. It's an agreement that we all enter into together in order to have a safer, fairer society.

Because of this, it's essential that citizens appreciate what their local police force is focused on and why – and that they have opportunity to enter into that conversation.

Whenever you want to talk with residents about where you're focusing your efforts, how resources are allocated or proposing a new policing strategy, Simulator can help.

Digital tools for gauging policing priorities

Police bodies around the world – Police and Crime Commissioners, local police departments, state and federal law enforcement agencies – have started looking for digital tools to get public input on their Police and Crime Plans.

Many are using Simulator: an online interactive prioritisation tool that lets people weigh up strategic choices and trade-offs for themselves.

Respondents can experiment with various possible permutations – getting to see what the likely impact of different options would be and to understand the trade-offs at play.

Over 100 organisations have used Simulator to engage citizens in this way, on issues including crime prevention priorities, emergency powers and the Police Precept. It's just one of a number of ways people use Delib tools to consult on police and public safety issues.

Fundamental shift in strategy for Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)

Across a decade of austerity in the UK, PSNI saw their budget reduced by 25%, resulting in 17% fewer officers. Despite this, crime rates actually dropped by 33% over the same period.

The end of the Troubles left the PSNI with a unique challenge: now that they no longer had to allocate such significant resources to tackling violent crime and terrorism, what should they focus on? Criminal damage and theft had decreased; however, police now needed to deal with complex crimes like sexual exploitation and cyber harassment.

Such a significant reallocation of resources needed public input and consultation. PSNI decided to use Simulator to gauge where people's priorities lay. Respondents were allocated 100 points to ‘spend’ on the areas of policing that mattered to them the most, such as community policing, criminal justice investigations and emergency response. Each decision they made was accompanied by informative impact statements, detailing what real-world implications their choices would have were the PSNI to adopt them.

This meant that citizens’ responses were fully informed and carefully considered, resulting in high-quality data for the PSNI to work with. With over 4000 submissions received, the exercise was a triumph in public participation, and the people of Northern Ireland were meaningfully involved in shaping the future of their police services.

We needed those answering the consultation to have an understanding of the demands PSNI face and how challenging it is to balance the resource across the various demands on local policing. Simulator was an ideal way of doing this: it was interactive and not only did we receive feedback, we received feedback which was more informed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Raise awareness of your policing priorities

Simulator gets people to weigh up the real choices and trade-offs involved in allocating limited resources. It helps turn 'wish-lists' into considered preferences, with people thinking carefully about which things are most important to them.

For example, many police forces face questions like 'should there be more focus on protecting internet users from cyber crime, or is it more important that people see a greater street policing presence?'. Simulator is an ideal way to get public input into this kind of difficult decision.

Build understanding for the choices at hand

Simulator makes people more well-informed via the process of participation. By making the trade-offs necessary to balance resources themselves, respondents gain a new appreciation of the complexities involved.

Scrutiny and oversight for Northants Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Northamptonshire Police Force’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) was determined to build trust in Northamptonshire and ensure that the force was operating efficiently and effectively.

The Commissioner’s office decided to use Simulator to gauge the public’s opinion of the force and what it should focus on moving forward. They used Points Simulator, which enables an organisation to gather citizens’ priorities on things less concrete than budget figures, like time and existing resources such as officers and focus areas. Service groups such as "answering telephone emergency (999) calls" and "speaking to and hearing from communities" were put forward and participants could allocate points to the services they valued the most.

At the end of every Simulator is the option to include a set of demographics questions. Northants went a step further with this section and included a set of questions related to how the public felt about the police force, and whether or not they trusted them to address crime effectively in the area.

The result was clear, informed and valuable feedback that provided a real insight into the things that citizens valued the most. And by consulting with the public on the direction of Northants police, the Commissioner's office demonstrated that they took respondents' views seriously and were committed to change and improvement.

We want to hear your views on how you think police resources should be allocated across the County. We want to hear from you on the things that matter to you the most. What decisions would you make if you had control over policing in your area? Are there things that you would do differently?

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC)

Make difficult decisions easier to understand

Complex information is made clearer and more navigable by interactivity. Simulator lets people adjust simple sliders and see real-time feedback through points and consequences, giving them a hands-on grasp of the issues.

Your public engagement needs to be two-way: listening to people as well as informing them about your plans. Simulator gives you usable data about people's priorities, which can shape your decisions.

Get an accurate model

Set up Simulator to reflect the realities of your situation. Create a budget that adjusts the Precept contribution, set a resource savings target or let people allocate prioritisation points.

Stay on top of everything

Control your Simulator quickly and easily with at-a-glance dashboards and settings. Access headline statistics whenever you want to monitor progress.

Generate detailed analysis

Dig into the comprehensive reporting tools to produce insightful findings. Export all data at any time to audit results and run even more analytics.

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