West Midlands Police

Service design lead a team of seven people

Developing the WMP digital experience for citizens.

In 2015, West Midlands Police committed to a radical transformation program that would help the force meet current and future policing needs, manage citizen expectations and reduce cost across its operations. Part of this transformation was to improve non-emergency call-line, the 101, and define new channels through which the police could answer the citizen needs, not just more efficiently and effectively but also in a more inclusive way.

The research found police forces to have a traditionally fragmented process, which lacked feedback and transparency. WMP’s non-emergency call-line is currently over capacity and being utilised to field all types of queries. Systemic communication blockers are as common as dissipated time and resources. The police have developed workarounds for these blockers, but they come at a cost: a massive reduction in efficiency and decreased visibility in the process for citizens.

In an 8 week project, we interviewed 35 people, analysed 3,500 calls that police received through 101 and ran a workshop with 40 people which resulted in a consolidating strategy. When we saw how diverse the landscape displayed by the data was, we quickly realised that combining the two kinds of research would provide us with real, actionable insights. This gave scale to our findings thanks to the underlying data and gave depth to our data due to the additional context provided by the interviews. We created 12 service concepts and delivered it together with a roadmap. ​​After a successful run of the project, we were asked to bring the strategy to life by implementing the prioritized service concepts over a 6 months period. The project is live today.


Insights from interviews with Colleagues, Partners & Public

For our qualitative research, we interview 35 people where 15 of them were citizens and the rest colleagues (people who work for the police) and partners (people who work for the council, victim supper etc.) to understand the challenge police currently were facing. In short, we consolidated the research and discovered 10 main frustrations followed by 10 digital opportunities.

Current Frustration
Digital Opportunities


Insight from the analysis of 3500 calls

For our quantitative research, we analysed 3500 calls that West Midlands Police had received and categorised, and then used data visualisation to extract meaningful insights that wouldn’t be visible otherwise.

Firstly we mapped the flow of the calls.

In the graph below we highlighted the flow of calls related to reporting a crime versus the calls related to anti-social behaviour. The top fat straight fat line is showing us that more than 50% of the call that has been referring to reporting a crime resulted in reporting a crime. However, the second highlighted line which was related to antisocial behaviour calls, the results are super diverse. Which tell us that when we are dealing with antisocial behaviour, the outcome of each case can be entirely different. This is just a small example of multiple insight we discover the analysis of this visualisation

Main flows

Then we extracted insight from the data.

For example which categories of crimes contain the most vulnerable citizens? How many business crime reports have CCTV as evidence?

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All this gave us a clear overview of the problem

Which as you can see, is complicated, and that makes it exciting to solve.


Merging the quantitative and qualitative data

When we saw how diverse the landscape displayed by the data was, we quickly realised that combining the two kinds of research would provide us with real, actionable insights. This gave scale to our findings thanks to the underlying data and gave depth to our data due to the additional context provided by the interviews. Ultimately, it led to the creation of Data-Infused Journeys.

By conducting interviews, we identified five unique citizen journeys based on different crimes. We then infused each specific journey with the data previously collected. The journey can be radically different for each citizen, and we accounted for each different segment of the callers with variations in the journeys based on the data provided. As you can see from the graph below, each citizens journey can be quite diverse. Changes like if the victim was vulnerable or not can create a different user journey. In the graph bellow the red line represents the journey we have created during our interviews and the rest is from the data.

Main flows

After the research was finalised we ran a workshop with 40 participants, both experts and citizens.

This visualisation was used in ideation sessions with members of the police, partners and the citizens. Specifically, it helped us define user journeys made with multiple variables, representing all the possible scenarios in which citizens’ encounters with the police might take place. These findings were then used later on to create and measure our service concepts against all the possible variations along the citizen journey. After we identified our service concepts, we ran multiple workshops to prioritise and validate our concepts.

From there, we created a roadmap on how to deliver these concepts and started the next phase of the project: developing the service over a nine-month period.

Main flows

By doing extensive research and generating new methodologies, we managed to get a clear picture of all the problems that the WMP were facing in this area and developed insights that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Using design methodologies, we manage to translate these insights into a realistic and modern service, while convincing the West Midlands Police not only to change their procedures but their overall culture as well.

West Midlands citizens now have clarity and understand the ways the police operate and how they can assist citizens. They can also see what would happen in the case of a hypothetical crime and how the police would react, and they can stay updated and track the progress of the case they are involved with.

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Impleme-ntation phase

After the service design phase, West Midlands Police briefed us to implement our strategy for the next 9 months. Our service proposition leveraged digital channels to reduce the administrative tasks to a minimum for both officers and call-handlers. Tools like an ‘Online Statement Generator’ and ‘Online Crime Reporting’ provided citizens and partners with clarity regarding individual cases and progress in development. As a result, call handlers and officers can focus on matters that require and benefit from human contact, rather than wasting valuable time writing up statements and crime reports.

Redesining WMP website

After we finished the first phase of the project, it was apparent that to deliver our strategic promise there was a need to redesign WMP current website.
We created a responsive and light website with a modern design system for future scalability. We wanted it to be accessible, clean, clear and with simple navigation.

Helping you understand your option

Before reporting a crime, citizens can understand their situations in detail by searching their available options.
To achieve that we delivered a tool which, through natural language search, empowers citizens to identify their situation or problem. All options available explained through a visual, step-by-step breakdown which outlines the different types of crimes that can be reported, the phases of the process, and possible actions and timelines. Citizens who previously might not have felt comfortable reporting a crime now have a clearer understanding of the process and an idea of what to expect if they were to report an incident.

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Incident reporting

Reporting an incident can be quite a time to consume and repetitive for citizens. It could be made more accessible and convenient by using a dynamic ‘decision-tree’ approach to crime reports.
The crime-report form would ‘grow’ – asking questions, classifying the incident and capturing the required information from the citizen based on their specific case. This report could also act as a single point of contact for the citizen, providing a contact route to the police and partner agencies.

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Feedback and process journey

Proving citizens visibility of their case progress as it develops.
Detail the process as it develops – clearly highlighting actions already taken, actions to be made, and contact details of colleagues & partners involved in the case. This way citizens will be aware of what's going with their casing which will result in a reduction of calls to 101.

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The project is live and has been nominated for the Service Design Award wish me luck!
Thanks for reading 😀