UNITY was established on the principle that across Europe, communities, despite their varying social, cultural, geographic and ethnic differences, have common and shared values in their requirements for their own safety, security and wellbeing. While this is true, the companies that endeavour to provide these services often struggle to connect with the communities and citizens they serve. Despite the maturity and in many cases near ubiquity of technology as a means of digital connectivity, the full potential of this is not really being met when the police consider how best to engage effectively with those residing in their local communities. The end result being that opportunities are being missed to enhance community cohesion through the sharing of information that may help to ensure the safety and security of citizens.
UNITY set out to establish a new, community-centred approach to community policing by developing new tools, procedures and technologies that put citizens at the heart of identifying policing priorities, ensuring that communities themselves are an integral part of informing sustainable solutions within their own community.
In UNITY, I led the visual and UI design of the mobile companion application. The application was designed for use by both Police, citizens and other stakeholder organisations providing a live prototype system that provided a new communication mechanism to reinforce existing values of trust, accountability and collaboration between these groups, whilst simultaneously acting a test-bed for further research investigation whether and how technology can be used to build bridges between the police and citizens in geographic locations where these values were not well established. A second aspect of my role in the project was to design and execute an evaluation strategy assessing in what capacity these values can and were being addressed by technology in the project. It is with UNITY that the seeds for AEsOP were sewn, a mobile and browser based game designed to raise awareness of community policing among different community groups.