Earlier this year we started on a journey to significantly enhance our digital services to the public by focusing on building a new online form system.  We called this system Formation.

As a digital team, we have been responsible for innovating in the police digital space for nearly two decades, inventing many UK and world firsts including services such as TrackMyCrime, online neighbourhood policing, searchable online crime statistics, pro-active publication of Freedom of Information requests, and much more.

Formation is probably our most important service to-date having delivered a tangible positive impact on the public and the organisation whilst enabling rapid roll out of additional services.

We believe this is down to a focus on meeting citizens and colleagues needs by working with them, and understanding their environment (following Jobs to be Done Theory).

Formation wouldn’t have been successful had we not had close support from colleagues in our Call-Centre, Incident Assessment Unit, and Front Office teams.  They have worked with us, hand in hand to understand how we could build a system to align with their processes.  They have also been willing to adapt, taking advantage of the efficiency opportunities that Formation has enabled.

Successful digital services aren’t just about delivering an effective front end to the citizen, they are also about ensuring the processes behind the scenes are as streamlined as possible.

Therefore, integration with internal police systems was also a vital part of our plan.

Within 3 weeks the team delivered integration for our online shoplifting reports directly into our Crime Management System, Niche.  A few weeks later we have provided integration into our Business Information Tool, Qlik for Cycling Near Miss reports, allowing officers access to a crowd-sourced map of near-miss hot-spots when they can target operational activities and initiatives.

Having worked closely with our Business Intelligence and Road Safety team, we believe this will save lives.

Screenshot showing graphs and information for cycling near miss
Screenshot of the cycling near miss data analysis interface

Forms currently live with Formation

  • Dashcam reporting and upload
  • Shoplifting Report
  • CCTV upload of a shoplifting incident (once shoplifting has been reported)
  • Report a cycling near miss
  • Report a near miss involving a horse

Forms in the pipeline releasing soon

  • online firearms payments
  • accident reports
  • online call handler recruitment
  • and dozens more

Existing live forms due to be replaced by formation

  • General crime report – with Niche integration
  • Tell us something (intelligence report)
  • Make a complaint
  • Around 21 in total

Formation will continue to expand and roll out forms and additional functionality.  A number of forces as well as the national digital public contact programme team have expressed an interest in the service.

Formation into Niche admin screenshot
Formation to Niche admin screenshot

Examples of feedback from businesses using the online shoplifting reporting form

“fabulous way of contact, I can do it at desk while its quiet and no rush…brilliant”

“this way of contact saves time for all concerned and does not hold up the phone for emergency callers”

If you’d like to find out more about Formation and stay up to date with developments you can contact us and follow us on Twitter.