How can digital police solutions better serve citizens’ expectations?

The 2014 global Accenture Citizen Pulse Survey finds a gap between citizens’ expectations and perceived reality around the use of digital policing.



In the 2014 Accenture survey of citizens across eight countries, a convincing 96 percent of respondents said the public should play a role in police services. Coupled with the fact that two-thirds (66 percent) of citizens said they wanted more interaction with their local police, this public enthusiasm offers a golden opportunity to rebalance responsibilities for public safety through greater involvement from local communities.

The use of digital police solutions not only serves an “always on, always aware” culture, but also opens up the potential to enhance the dialogue with citizens—in a way that meets their expectations.

Read the full survey to find out why:

  • Citizens are keen to use digital channels more with the police

  • The public understands crime fighting is a priority—and one that can be helped by using digital technologies

  • Comfort levels are running high with citizens when it comes to police using digital tools sample only

Download the report or access the infographic for more statistics from the survey.

Watch this video which includes insights from the Accenture Public Safety leadership team.


The 2014 online citizen survey follows on from a similar survey undertaken in 2012; some year-over-year data comparisons have been made. The 2014 findings included the responses of 4,000 citizens (global margin of error ±1.55), across eight countries, with approximately 500 respondents each from Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States (margin of error ±4.38 per country).

The survey age categories represented include 30 percent between 18 years and 34 years of age 37 percent between 35 and 54 years of age and 32 percent who were more than 55 years old. Fifty-one percent of respondents were female and 49 percent were male. The survey was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland in August 2014.


The police should be congratulated for making significant progress in adopting police solutions that advance their digital capabilities. When our survey asked citizens about their local police force use of digital channels, the responses showed that this use has more than doubled in the last two years—42 percent in 2014 versus 20 percent in 2012. However, despite this increase, in 2014, 77 percent of citizens said that digital should be used—a gap of some 35 percentage points from where they perceive the police are today.

Gaps also exist betwee expectation and perceived reality for specific digital channels—with citizens looking to communicate more via websites or Web portals, smartphone apps and social media—such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Indeed, the demand for certain social media increased against the 2012 survey results; of those who would use social media to interact with police, 35 percent said they would most likely use Twitter in 2012 versus 42 percent in 2014.

In all, according to citizens, the police have demonstrated an increased use of digital technologies, in scale and scope, over the past two years. Such digital progress is proving to offer positive outcomes—not only as a means to better fight crime, but also to develop a more effective relationship with citizens.


The 2014 research offers insights into how police forces around the world can develop their digital journeys. We examine three key takeaways for the police:

  • Citizens are keen to take an active role in policing and are responsive to the use of digital channels—even new technologies such as wearables. How can the police can take advantage of this willingness to be involved, while at the same time tackling crime?

  • Citizens recognize that digital can be useful to prevent crime, as well as detect it. With declining resources and changing citizens demands, how can the police more effectively communicate and build trust with citizens?

  • Using traditional means to interact with the police is clearly still important to citizens. How can the police balance their physical presence with the virtual world and best share information to achieve the right outcome?