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Adam Turner

How are UK Police Forces doing? Are they meeting the WCAG 2.1 guidelines?

Accessibility Public sector


At Sitemorse we published our 2019 Q4 UK Police Forces INDEX this week. The INDEX has been published quarterly since 2006 and ranks the websites of 48 UK police forces, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Our Q4 INDEX was compiled following nearly 24 million tests, checks and measures across over 70,000 URLs. 

Congratulations to the Metropolitan Police Service for taking first place and Essex Police for being the most improved.

Overall, 7 police forces improved the accessibility of their website, whilst 6 have seen it decline and 35 have made no progress.

There were no Police Forces passed the WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA tests on all of their web pages. Indeed, there was 1 Police Force that failed the level A and AA tests on every page.

European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) was approved on October 26, 2016. It came into force for in the UK on 23 September 2018. The aim of the regulations is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible.

This includes those with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

New public sector websites have needed to be compliant since 22 September this year, all other public sector websites need to be compliant by 22 September 2020.

If we focus purely on Accessibility and compare the Q4 INDEX results with those from Q3:

  • 1 police force scored 7 or higher (out of 10)
  • 26 police forces scored 5 or 6
  • 21 police forces scored 4 or less

Top ten websites

  1. Metropolitan Police Service
  2. Leicestershire Constabulary
  3. Warwickshire Police Force
  4. West Mercia Constabulary
  5. Merseyside Police
  6. Thames Valley Police
  7. Greater Manchester Police
  8. Staffordshire Police
  9. Northamptonshire Police
  10. Essex Police

Five Most improved websites

  • Essex Police
  • National Crime Agency
  • Warwickshire Police Force
  • Staffordshire Police
  • West Mercia Constabulary

The full 2019 Q4 UK Police Forces results can be found here: Sitemorse UK Police Forces INDEX

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