Website benchmark -Scots Police websites a force to be reckoned with
19 Apr 2012
With five of the most efficient UK police force websites coming from North of the border, the latest Sitemorse survey looks like a victory for Scotland.
Of nearly 60 websites we surveyed earlier in April on quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and search engine optimisation, Dumfries and Galloway Police’s site came top with a score of more than nine out of ten possible marks.
The testing is undertaken by Sitemorse using automated software that reads the first 125 pages of each site to generate a ranked table.
Other top-rated Scottish websites are run by the Strathclyde, Fife, Grampian and Lothian and Borders forces. The top 12 websites for this quarterly survey also include Cleveland, who have topped the table for a number of recent surveys, Cheshire, North Yorkshire, City of London and Lincolnshire in England and North Wales Police and also the Gwent force in Wales.
The Dumfries and Galloway force covers around 2,500 miles of South-West Scotland, and the force website likewise has a large area to cover in terms of its audience, with advice on everything from child protection to giving witness statements in court. We rated the website highly on function, accessibility, code quality and performance, and on these criteria it was well ahead of its nearest rivals.
Sitemorse surveys the websites of businesses and organisations in a number of sectors, and has been benchmarking and publishing the detailed results for a decade. The full results from this and other recent surveys can be seen on our website.
Cleveland Police are always high performers in our surveys, having topped the Police force website benchmark six times in succession, but dropped to second position this time. Climbers in the table this time include North Yorkshire Police, up 43 places, Sussex Police (+34), West Yorkshire (+33) and Dorset and Essex Police, up 21 and 18 respectively.
However, the Tayside and Kent Police websites both dropped 35 places, Northern Ireland 29, Avon and Somerset 22 and Leicestershire 19 places. We always expect a certain amount of volatility in surveys because of the sheer numbers involved and the fact that so many websites are improving.
At the very bottom of the table are Hampshire, Kent and the Central Scotland forces plus the Independent Police Complaints Commission, whose website scored less than three out of a possible ten points in the survey.
Interesting data on accessibility
The 'digital inclusion' of disabled people is important for many of the sectors we survey, as well as being backed by the force of the law.
Highest scorers in the Police sector on accessibility, rated 9, were Dumfries and Galloway, Gwent, and Grampian, whilst the North Wales force scored a creditable 8.
Three websites, Central Scotland, Derbyshire and the ‘Ask The Police’ site, an official police resource developed to reduce the number of non-emergency calls to police forces scored zero on accessibility, which makes us wonder how anyone with disabilities is expected to consult them!
In tough times with downward pressure on budgets it’s good to see so many police forces realise their websites are not only a good communication channel with the public but a way to actively cut crime. Sites with errors and problems or failings in the accessibility area hamper this effort, and we’d like to see more forces follow Dumfries and Galloway’s example of a functional, accessible site.
About our surveys, and how they work
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique Index publications, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.
Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.
We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are SaaS based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.
This survey took place on April 4, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than 90,000 separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the Greater Manchester Police site which had more than 47,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was the British Transport Police website. No UK police sites were excluded from the survey.
For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 1525 375057, gpaddock@Sitemorse.com
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