Tuesday 7 August 2012

Results of the online website questionnaire

Key Findings

  • Awareness of the Devon and Cornwall Police website is generally good
  • The people surveyed welcomed the internet as a tool for receiving information from Devon and Cornwall Police but don’t want to use the internet for reporting crime. If Devon and Cornwall Police want to encourage online crime reporting, a lot of work will have to be done to promote its use and help make people feel confident about using it
  • Consideration should be given to how people are accessing the website, for example, via mobile devices
  • Use of Devon and Cornwall Police social networking sites is low, particularly given the number of respondents that said they use social networking sites. However, it was felt that Facebook  is a good way of communicating with people about policing in their local area
  • Additional, specific research needs to be undertaken into the usefulness and relevance of the young people’s websites amongst relevant age groups
  • There was generally a feeling of indifference toward the website and mixed views were expressed in free text responses
  • In general, the development of the Devon and Cornwall Police website is not seen as a priority for the Force

Detailed findings

In April 2012, Devon and Cornwall Police conducted an online survey regarding their website, a total of 535 surveys were completed. Over 80% (80.4%) of people who responded were more than 45 years of age which means the younger age groups were under-represented. This should be taken into account when interpreting the survey results. Another consideration when interpreting the survey results is that a message about the survey was sent to residents signed up to community messaging.
There is no way of measuring how many people took part in the survey as a result of community messaging but it is clear from the freetext comments that many people did take part as a result of this communication. Respondents signed up to community messaging are unlikely to be representative of members of the general public as they have additional access to information about Devon and Cornwall Police and demonstrate a more active interest in policing than the average person.

General use of the internet

The vast majority of respondents said they used the internet daily (91.7%); email (97.4%), general browsing (79.5%), information/advice (75.4%), online shopping (75.2%), research (74.7), and news (64.5%) were the most popular reasons why people used the internet.
Four out of ten respondents stated that they used social networking sites; Facebook (56.8%), YouTube (31.7%) and twitter (18.8%) were reported as the most popular. 
The majority of people use home computers (85.7%). Personal laptops (32.5%), and work computer/ laptop (28.2%) were also popular methods of  accessing the internet. It is also important to highlight that mobile internet use is also reasonably high with 19.9% using a smart phone, 17.7% using a mobile phone and 10.9% using a tablet device.  This should be taken into account when considering the future development the Devon and Cornwall Police website.

Use of the Devon and Cornwall Police website

Over a quarter of respondents (27.2%, 140 respondents) stated that they had not used the website in the past 12 months. A lot of the free text comments also referred to the fact that people were not aware of the Devon and Cornwall Police website. However, almost three quarters of respondents  had used the website. This may be a reflection of the demographics of the respondents as the people surveyed were likely to be more interested in policing than the average person. It also suggests that the profile of the website amongst those registered for community messaging could be raised. 
11.2% of people (59) had used the website to make contact with the police, the most popular use was to request contact with the Local Policing team (44.6%,  25 respondents).
Although most people said they were able to make contact easily (72.9%,  46 respondents), 63. 8% were able to make contact quickly (37 respondents), and 69% (40 respondents) thought instructions were clear, at least a quarter of respondents did not agree with these statements which suggests that improvements can be made.
The most popular sections of the website were local policing teams (43%), contact details (42.5%), general advice/information (37.6%), community messaging (35.2%), crime statistics (32%) and news/police appeals (30.4%).
Importantly, 71.6% of respondents felt the information on the site could be trusted.  
64.9 % felt they were able to find all the information they wanted, 63.2% felt information on the website was easy to understand,  56.8% thought it was easy to find what they needed, 50.3% felt confident the information was up to date, 53.4 % felt it was suitable to be used by people of all ages and 46.5% felt the website was well designed. However, a large percentage of people did not agree with these statements suggesting that improvements can be made. However, it is important to note that free text comments suggest that respondents do not consider the website a priority for Devon and Cornwall Police.
The ability to register for local policing newsletters (76.9%), news  and updates by email (75.3%) and track the process of a crime (71.1%) are suggested new website features which would be welcomed, online meetings proved far less popular with only 23% (101 respondents) saying that they would use this feature. Again the age demographics of the respondents may have an impact on the results so this needs to be taken into account when deciding the features to be progressed.
Only 3.7 % of respondents (18) reported problems accessing the website, it needs to be decided whether this is an acceptable figure.

Use of other police websites

33.3% of respondents were aware that Devon and Cornwall Police have social networking sites, of those respondents 63.4% (64 respondents) had used Devon and Cornwall Police Facebook, 51.5% (52 respondents) used Local policing team Facebook site(s), 39.6 % (40 respondents) had Devon and Cornwall Police twitter account, 28.7% (29 respondents) had used the Local policing team Twitter site(s), and only 12% (12 respondents) had visited the Devon and Cornwall YouTube Channel.
Awareness of both youth sites was low, with only 6.9% (35 respondents) aware of either of these sites. However, given the demographics of the survey respondents it is unlikely that the opinion of the target markets for the youth websites is reflected in these results. Therefore, further research is needed with appropriate age groups to determine how to improve the youth websites.


The majority of people surveyed (83.2%) wanted to be able to contact the police via the telephone (email (59.4%), face-to-face (55.6%) and at the police station (53.1%) were also popular methods. Web-based contact was generally unpopular, with only 18.3% (97 respondents) stating they wanted to make contact via the website, 8.5% (45 respondents) via Facebook and 3.6% (19 respondents) via twitter.
However using the internet as a web-based information tool was more popular,  with the vast majority of people saying they would like  to be informed about policing by email (84.3%), via  the website (23.5%) and via Facebook (18.2%).
Face-to-face contact (36.2%), newsletters (32.3%) and local meetings (26.6%) were also popular methods of being informed about local policing.
Performance & Analysis Dept June 2012

A big thank you to all those who took the time to complete this questionnaire.