As some of you know already, I’ve been working on mypolice.org – a website allowing the public to give feedback to the Police.
We were pretty excited when the Times decided to write a piece on us for this sunday’s paper. What resulted was this:
“Police leaders have warned that a new website allowing the public to criticise the service could be hijacked by troublemakers”
followed by …
“The site, modelled on Patient Opinion, which encourages online criticism of the NHS, will allow people to suggest areas for improvement or to offer praise.
However, officers have expressed concern that the site will be hijacked by disgruntled members of the public to make unfounded criticism.”
This did not represent what we are trying to achieve with MyPolice at all. Here is our official reply. Douglas Greenshields has a well-thought out criticism of the negative journalism, plus a view of how a service like mypolice could benefit the public.
MyPolice cannot be further away of being a site which allows people to “shop a cop”. In fact, the focus on positivity is one of the main reasons why I signed onto the project in the first place. I have a number of friends in the Police Force (mostly through my rugby connections), and I remember telling Sarah Drummond (who came up with the idea) at the start of SICamp how I wouldn’t work on a project which could be similar to Rate-my-cop. The negativity would be too overwhelming. She convinced me that it would be a platform to praise police officers as much as giving constructive feedback. It was going to be a place where the public put their point of view across. This could be good feedback (when was the last time you wrote to thank someone?)
This opinion is further reinforced by James Munro from PatientOpinion, who pointed out that 50% of the feedback they receive on their NHS rating site are positive.
You didn’t read it wrong – half are positive.
The team knows that MyPolice edges a difficult line – how to provide feedback without plain rude criticism. We want to encourage positivity (in fact, that’s the first word that was written down in our first ever brain-storming session). That’s what makes this project so interesting to work on. The point is to provide a platform, not a soapbox.