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Information and Communication Technologies and Policing: The Dynamics of Changing Police-Public Communication in the East End of London

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 48 Issue: 5 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 501-513
Bridgette Wessels
Date Published
December 2009
13 pages
An ethnographic analysis of local initiatives undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in the East End of London (England) focused on the use of new information and communication technology (ICT) in improving police-community relations.
The London Borough of Newham (LBN) in the East End of London was the focus of the use of 'e-services' in order to improve police-community relations. The term 'e-services' refers to the integration of ICT in the delivery of services electronically. Research conducted by LBN's local authority found that health services, rising crime, lack of jobs, and low standards of education are the main concerns of LBN residents (Sills, Sawhney, and Desai, 1997). Recognizing that the issues of communication and access cannot be separated from service provision, the MPS developed the ATTACH project, which sought to establish interactive multimedia kiosks in order to provide community information and access to local pubic services, police services, and voluntary agencies. The outcome of the project was the development of eight local service centers in LBN supported by ICT. The centers are one-stop shops with advisors, computers, and information sources that link with social services, leisure services, education, police services, translation services, and the voluntary sector. Annual evaluations of the centers indicate that they are meeting local needs. Although the MPS views ICT as a useful means of assisting the public, face-to-face interaction is still central in all aspects of policing. 2 figures, 5 notes, and 27 references