The fund will enable an App, designed for mobile and tablet devices, to be created.
Avon and Somerset Police and North Somerset Council have been awarded a Home Office Innovation Fund for a new Citizen Portal.
The fund will enable an App, designed for mobile and tablet devices, to be created. This will allow residents in North Somerset to access local authority and police services in one place, without the need to visit each agency’s online services separately.
The ambition is that all services available through the police website will also be accessible through the App, including online reporting and ‘track my crime’. Council services such as reporting fly tipping, noise complaints and missed recycling and waste collections can also be accessed through the App.
The collaboration builds on the successful partnership between the two authorities which has brought together the customer services in Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon to provide a central hub for council and police services. This partnership has been upheld as national best practice.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “To hear that the Home Office has approved our innovation bid and will be providing funding to enhance the services we offer local people is great news. The bid utilises on-line technology to bring the police and council closer to the people they serve. The new on-line work will strengthen even further the important joint working between the police and the council already started at the Town Hall and Castlewood.”
Chief Inspector Alex Cohen, the local police commander, said: “In North Somerset, our communities are already accessing face-to-face public services in one central location so it makes sense to provide an online platform for them to access our services wherever they are.
“Online content is increasingly accessed through mobile devices so the citizen portal will make it easier for residents to report crimes, find out what’s happening in their local area, contact local officers and access popular council services.”
Leader of North Somerset Council, Cllr Nigel Ashton, said: “Accessing services digitally is the preferred way for many people – they can do it when and where it suits them.
“Our successful bid for funding means we can develop this app firstly in North Somerset and then roll it out across the rest of the Avon and Somerset police area.
“This work builds on the already excellent working relationship we have with the police and the work we have done in the gateway in the town hall in Weston-super-Mare and integrating Clevedon police station into the offices at Castlewood.”
There is an extensive amount of work to do in the design, build and testing of the technology to ensure it is cutting edge and meets the needs of the community so it is likely to be launched by the end of 2014. This project will be piloted in North Somerset with the ambition that this will roll out across the force.
Posted on Thursday 16th January 2014