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Police chief to recruit 'mystery shoppers' to drive up standards in customer service


As National Volunteer week gets underway, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping is inviting people to become ‘mystery shoppers’ to improve customer service in policing.

The new project will help local people make a difference to the quality of service the public receives from their force and identify both good and bad patterns of customer relations.

Mystery shopping is a tool used regularly in the private sector to test customer service skills, highlight weaknesses and encourage staff to perform better. The method is basically a form of market research and volunteers will be trained to observe, experience and evaluate the customer service process of Nottinghamshire Police.

The mystery shopper will act as a customer and undertake a series of agreed tasks to monitor the quality of customer service before reporting back on their experiences. The information received will help shape future services and enable the Commissioner to make changes so that victims of crime feel more satisfied and confident about the services they receive. 

Mystery shoppers might be asked to call the 101 non-emergency phone line and request information or to visit a specific police station to check access and available parking. Volunteers might be asked to monitor how long it takes for staff to deal with their enquiry or answer the phone and how they were greeted. They might also be asked to attend a local Neighbourhood Police meeting to report on how the local priorities are delivered or to navigate their way around the Nottinghamshire Police website to look for information about their local area.

Commissioner Tipping said: “I’ve often said we could learn a few lessons from our counterparts in the commercial sector for whom good customer service is the difference between profit and loss. More often than not, people come to Nottinghamshire Police when they are at their lowest having become a victim of crime or having witnessed a crime and it’s incredibly important we treat them in a way that makes them feel understood and confident that we will resolve the situation

“Modern policing is about including local people, helping them to make decisions and improvements which will be of benefit to the public at large and this scheme is one of the ways residents can really help.

“Mystery shopping is a way of finding out what we do well as well as spotting areas where performance falls below expectation. Like commercial call centres, regular monitoring of customer service skills will promote a culture of excellence and motivate staff to go the extra mile.”

Each mystery shopper experience is expected to take 10 minutes to carry out and 20 minutes to complete the questionnaire, except in neighbourhood policing meetings. The Chief Constable will be made aware that mystery shopping research is taking place but will not be provided with dates and times to ensure each visit is spontaneous.

Mystery shoppers will perform their duties in pairs for health and safety reasons and should possess excellent customer service skills, be reliable, treat all people with dignity and respect and work as part of a team. 

Anyone aged 15+ interested in volunteering for the scheme should contact Katherine Potter on 0115 967 0999 ex 801 2008 or email nopcc@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk.

More information can also be found on the website http://www.nottinghamshire.pcc.police.uk/About-Us/Vacancies.aspx


Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401



Posted on Monday 3rd June 2013
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