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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Plaudits for police website
E-policing advert on the back of a bus
A bus advertising campaign will highlight the scheme

A police force in the north-east of England has won a See It Right award from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

The award has been given to Northumbria Police, which put its new upgraded site on line in March 2003.

The accolade means the site has met high standards set by the RNIB, covering all areas of accessibility.

Blind and partially sighted people find many websites difficult or even impossible to use because of the way they have been designed.

The RNIB encourages designers to create sites that are accessible to all and has advised Northumbria Police on how to ensure that people with visual impairment can use the site.

'User friendly'

Anne-Marie Blackburn, lead designer on the e-policing team, said: "Because the website is an important means of developing contact between the public and the police we had to ensure social inclusion.

"The design had to be user friendly for non-technical people and comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.

"We are thrilled our efforts have been recognised by the RNIB."

The RNIB examination of the site included checks on good contrast between foreground and background colours, the use of text rather than a graphic to link text, and the absence of pop-up windows which can create confusion.

The technology used to build the site also ensures that it is accessible from any kind of browser.

Online jobs

One option for people with sight problems is to use a speech browser or screen reader.

This software will read out, in a synthesised voice, the contents of a web page but can only operate fully if there is a text alternative to any graphical image.

The site uses technologies such as text messaging and e-mail to keep victims and witnesses up to date with cases and results.

Users of the force's redesigned website can also apply online for jobs, register for news alerts and seek out the latest crime reduction material.

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19 Mar 03  |  England
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12 Mar 02  |  Science/Nature
Force joins 'e-policing' scheme
09 Jul 01  |  Scotland

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