Police On Web (POW)

Published on: 31/05/2007
Police On Web is a site where any citizen can submit a declaration of theft or vandalism to the Belgian police online. It is accessible by various official authentication tools: the belgian eID and the federal portal user account (allows instant registration). It currently supports 4 kinds of claims, but we plan to extend this scope acoording to the needs and demand. The claim is automatically routed to the competent police office, and an official acknowledge of the declaration is provided during the session. The resulting declaration is legally binding. The solution design allows extending the site to additional authentication means such as foreign eIDs.

Policy Context

Police On Web fits in the frame of the Belgian eGovernment's policy. It balances multiple objectives and constraints: user-friendliness, no need to re-enter information already known by the Administration, re-use of existing technological components, avoid stove-pipe syndrom, integration in the IT systems of the Police, work towards a better use of the human resources at the Police by freeing them from low-level administrative task and allowing reallocation to more critical duties. It is also aligned with the objectives of Lisbon, making use of ICT to create efficiencies in a public service process.

Description of target users and groups

Anyone who wants to report an incident to the Belgian police.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

We use strong project management techniques to make sure that the results of our efforts are aligned with the needs and demands, to promote continuity of knowledge, to keep our initiative in synch with other initiatives, and to properly manage stakeholders. We have a very strong partnership in place with the Police. Police On Web adds a new communication channel with the security forces. It also frees policemen from administrative work, making them more available for face-to-face duties. In this way it takes care to not increasing the digital divide. On the contrary, it allows the whole society to take benefits of the advantages of the technological progress

Technology solution

The solution is 100% based on Open Source software. Technology choice: Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

Submitting a declaration with Police On Web takes 15 minutes. If you have to go to your Police office it will take a minimum of 2 hours, all in all. Moreover, the website is always open, so the amount of problems not reported will reduce, allowing the Police and Justice staff to be better informed of the exact amount of problems - and take appropriate measures. The main areas of novelty lie in the focus on simplicity to use and accessibility to all. We also took much care of reusing existing components.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - Always keep things simple. ICT still is experienced by a large proportion of the population as a complex, out-of-control technology; so the services must be very transparent to understand and use. Lesson 2 - Re-use existing parts, and make sure that your product is reusable. It accelerates the development process (at least if you properly negociate and manage the re-use of existing components) and lowers the development costs. Lesson 3 - Put the responsibilities where they should be. Don't try to bypass players, make them work together. Scope: National