Checking out the thin blue line
April 16, 2017 PCP Market Research

Checking out the thin blue line

The challenge

Police Authorities are independent bodies responsible for monitoring the work of its Constabulary. This includes making sure staff maintain professional standards. They also evaluate the Force’s performance. In order to assess levels of service provided at police helpdesks, we were commissioned to conduct a mystery shopping project by one Police Authority in Derbyshire.


To assess police response to simple enquiries made in person and by telephone.

Our approach

Our mystery shoppers made a total of 48 visits across 12 stations for eight different scenarios. These ranged from improving the security of the home to asking what to do about lost property they had found. They were a mixture of genders and ages to check whether staff attitudes were influenced by these factors. Our mystery shoppers also made telephone calls to police stations. We assessed staff courtesy and professionalism, quality of information given, time taken for each enquiry, front counter environment and accessibility.

Each enquiry was recorded using a structured marking grid allowing for both descriptive comments and quantitative data.


As with any project, this police authority market research provided the highest level of analysis. We analysed the data by scenario and help desk, which identified which stations were performing well. We also reported on any areas where knowledge seemed to be lacking.

As the result of this work, The Policy Authority recommended us to several more Police Authorities. This has resulted in our undertaking mystery shopping projects and police authority market research across the UK.

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