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Adam Turner

Are UK Police Forces catering well enough for citizens with disabilities?

Index Accessibility Public sector

At Sitemorse we published our 2019 Q3 UK Police Forces INDEX earlier this week. The INDEX was first published in 2006 and ranks the websites of 47 Police Forces in the UK as well as the IPCC and Ask The Police for digital compliance, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Rick and Compliance. 

No-one would deny that the police have a tough job however, it would appear they are not doing enough for all sectors in the community. Being a victim of crime is unpleasant enough but it must be ever more unpleasant if you are visually impaired.

The EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile apps (Directive (EU) 2016/2102 using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04)), 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 directive contained three dates by which compliance needs to be achieved:

  • 22 September 2019 - New public sector websites (those published after 22 September 2018)
  • 22 September 2020 - All other public sector websites
  • 22 June 2021 - Public sector mobile apps

It is rather disappointing then to see that only one police force, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, have score 7 or more. Worse still is 50% have a score of 3 or less and 27% actually scored zero.

We’ve already seen that in the US that lawsuits alleging web sites discriminating against people with disabilities are increasingly common – how long will it be before we see the same happening in the UK & IE? 

Perhaps the focus is on September 2020 and within the next 12 months we will see huge improvement. However, it is important to note that in the meantime, the aforementioned Equalities Act can be applied to websites.

Putting the law to one side, the police need to do the right thing and consider this very important part of the community.

Top ten websites

  1. Derbyshire Constabulary
  2. Sussex Police
  3. Leicestershire Constabulary
  4. Metropolitan Police Services
  5. Merseyside Police
  6. Northampton Police
  7. Dorset Police
  8. Surrey Police
  9. Thames Valley Police
  10. Hampshire Constabulary

Five most improved websites

  • Northamptonshire Police College
  • Leicestershire Constabulary
  • Derbyshire Constabulary
  • Suffolk Constabulary
  • West Mercia Constabulary

The full UK Police Q3 2019 results can be found here: Sitemorse UK Police INDEX.


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