As a part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Start Up Grant awarded in August 2014, the Policing Past Community Present project performed two main forms of community consultation between February 2015 and March 2015 in order to find out public opinions on the future of the Historic Collections of Devon & Cornwall Police. This research is intended to be fed into our ongoing work for this HLF-funded project (August 2014 – December 2015).
The key messages we derived from the exercise came from a mixture of discussion and data; although our sample sizes for both the focus groups and online survey were small, so this feedback may not be representative of the wider population. Having undertaken the consultation in the early months of the project, we realised that we may not have gained as many diverse supporters and followers as we are now lucky enough to have, and encourage anyone with anything to add to our continued consultation research to contact Project Assistant Carmen Talbot on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Consultation Messages
|1. The future museum must be easy to access | This will require ensuring it is located in a site accessible by all users, but also may require siting near a main road, and ensuring that there is adequate parking for users. Users may decide to visit the museum as part of a larger day out, and to this end, a location near sites/areas of interest may be beneficial|
|2. The museum must make use of the objects and archives to tell a diverse range of stories from the different voices represented within in | One commenter added; “It’s about having interesting stories, that can actually be displayed from beginning to end“|
|3. The museum should consider charging for activities outside of ‘core business’ | This could involve levying charges for evening/group visits/genealogical research or hiring out museum space to external groups|
|4. The consultation helped us to recognise some positive/negative perceptions of images depicting police history | The future museum must acknowledge both perceptions and all sides of the history of policing in Devon and Cornwall|
|5. Devon & Cornwall Police (the current managers of the Collection) should be involved in the future museum | One commenter on this subject added “…people can come in and learn about police in an unthreatening way; the police should be involved”|
|6. The future museum, the Collection, and the project in general, needs to raise its profile | Building on our ever-growing support, we need to find new channels/ways of getting knowledge of the Collection to a wider public|
|7. The museum must have at its core the needs of the communities it is representing, and ensure that it gives them opportunities to tell their stories | The future museum represents an opportunity to provide a valuable, neutral community resource|
|8. The museum must engage with and recognise the importance of current and retired officers | The wealth of organisational and oral historical knowledge that these officers hold is immense, and hugely important to the Collection. A positive relationship must be created|