OPINION11 November 2011

What’s all this then?

Should local police forces spend money on market research in the midst of spending cuts? The chairman of the Cleveland branch of the Police Federation doesn’t think so.

Police in Cleveland, in the northeast of England, are under fire from the chairman of the local Police Federation for spending over £25,000 for a year-long project measuring confidence in the force among residents.

Steve Matthews, chairman of the Cleveland branch of the Police Federation has criticised the expenditure as “unnecessary” as the force wrestles with budget cuts of £17m over the next two years.

Matthews said: “In these times of austerity, this does seem a little bit unnecessary. There are other ways of measuring police confidence without having to spend this sort of money on random calls to the public.”

The Northern Echo reports that Cleveland Police hired SPA Future Thinking to run the survey. It says there is already a callback system in police which re-contacts victims of crime or people who have called the police to find out if they were satisfied with the response they received.

The police stand by the survey, saying it has provided them with “a great deal of valuable information”. I guess the question is, how valuable? Is the information something you can put a price on? Or, as our cover story last month put it, what’s it worth?