Large scale consultation on the proposed merger of Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police

Telephone surveys with a representative sample of residents

Online responses to the open online survey received

Responses collected at local events via paper/app


Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police have been working in a strategic alliance since 2015, which involves collaboration in some critical areas such as roads policing, firearms and sog units, as well as supporting functions such as finance, HR and IT. In order to increase the limits of what they could achieve as two separate forces, the Chief Constables of each force proposed to merge and create a single new force.

A detailed business case was required to be sent to the government regarding the proposed merger, which would have been the first voluntary merger between police forces in England and Wales. Devon and Cornwall Police, Dorset Police, Devon and Cornwall OPCC (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) and Dorset OPCC therefore wished to employ the services of an independent research agency to consult with public and staff on the proposed merger, to understand attitudes towards this. Enventure Research was commissioned by the clients to advise on the survey design, undertake the survey and produce and independent report on the findings.


A mixed methodology approach was chosen to ensure as high a response rate as possible, whilst also achieving a representative sample of residents through a telephone survey. A questionnaire was designed in partnership by Enventure Research and the clients and asked questions about the proposed merger, as well as a series of demographic questions to ensure inclusivity and to allow for subgroup analysis to be undertaken when reporting.

The survey was open to anyone that lived in, worked in, or visited Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, and was hosted securely online by Enventure Research. Paper copies of the survey and the option to complete via tablet app were also made available at local events where the police forces and OPCCs were present. An easy read version was also available to ensure accessibility for all. The survey was promoted on the clients’ respective websites and social media sites, and also covered by local media.

The survey was further administered to a sample of residents of the three areas, with quotas set on county, age and gender to ensure representativeness. Trained market research interviewers conducted the survey via telephone and recorded responses using CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing) methodology.


A very high response to the survey was achieved, providing a large sample size for analysis. A total of 11,828 responses were received via the various survey formats, 9,775 of which were responses to the online survey and 2,053 of which were achieved via the telephone survey.

Enventure Research undertook detailed analysis of all survey findings, producing a comprehensive report showing the response to each question by survey type, with further analysis by other relevant subgroups to show comparisons and differences.

The findings provided the clients with evidence to support its business case for the proposed merger of the two police forces.

“This consultation was a great example of how important consultations with the public are. With over, 8,500 responses online and another 1,200 collected at local events, it demonstrates that engaging with residents is key to getting the information needed to make evidence-based decision making.”

Mark Robinson

Managing Director, Enventure Research